Coronavirus concerns affecting local businesses

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — There are growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

World health officials are still measuring how widespread it might be and what threats it may pose moving forward.

The uncertainty of the coronavirus is also having an impact on other aspects of the world community, including the business community. That uncertainty has moved many people to action and that action is impacting businesses in our region.

“What was here, we might sell a box or two a week. In no time 10 or 12 boxes that were there disappeared,” Pat Derr, manager of Conyngham Builders in southern Luzerne County, said.

Conyngham Builders sells all kinds of items for home repair and construction. He says they can’t keep masks on the shelves. He points out the masks that remain are less expensive and would provide less protection for a person as far as breathing in any type of contaminant, so people are buying the more expensive masks apparently for better protection.

They’re pretty much keeping it low key. We don’t say oh where are or why I need them because of the virus. There’s not a panic, I’ll just get them just in case,” Derr said.

“People are asking about it. The main thing people are asking for are masks right now but the CDC is not recommending masks,” pharmacist John Keegan said.

Keegan owns Height Terrace Pharmacy in Hazleton. He says his supply of masks was sold out last week. He’s been a pharmacist for four decades. He says the coronavirus is a hot topic and people are asking for advice on how best to protect themselves.

“The thing we would recommend with the flu be the same type of precautions that we have,” Keegan said.

That includes good hygiene practices like washing your hands and not touching your face if you haven’t washed your hands recently. As far as his supply of drugs that come from China?

“No, not at this point but I anticipate some of those problems,” Keegan said.

Bob Jones came into the pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions. He and his wife are planning a trip to Mexico in May and the coronavirus is on his mind.

“Yeah we are looking at getting those air masks, respiratory masks in an airplane. We are in a contained environment, it contains recycled air. It’s the most contagious way to get exposed to it,” Jones said.

According to the CDC, there are at least 60 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States. None have been reported in Pennsylvania.

Economic analysts say the uncertainty about the coronavirus is expected to have an impact on the global economy.

In fact, the U.S. stock market has taken a big hit in recent days because of that uncertainty.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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