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Gallatin Co. hardware stores running low on respirator masks due to coronavirus fears

Currently no known cases of coronavirus in Montana
Posted at 2:32 PM, Mar 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-01 16:32:33-05

Lots of people in Gallatin County are looking to buy N-95 respirator masks.

“They’re asking, do you guys have any respirator masks? N-95? Because the N-95 is the kind you need to protect yourself from the airborne pathogens,” said Rose Hoff, from Ace Hardware in downtown Bozeman.

According to staff, the store is back-ordered until April.

“We’ve been doing the best we can. The ones that we had ordered, they just sold out,” said Hoff.

Ace Hardware in Belgrade had only 6 N-95 masks left in stock.

“Friday we sold $4000 worth of these masks. So we’re getting pretty low too and almost everybody else is out of them,” said Bill Walton of Ace Hardware in Belgrade.

Kenyon Noble in Belgrade had the most in stock of all the stores MTN News visited.

But they were concerned people might buy them in bulk and sell them for more money online.

They said it was upsetting to see people trying to profit off of other people's fears.

“The masks are obviously the focal point of the news everywhere,” said Wilson.

N-95 masks are in fact being sold online for quite a bit more than local store prices.

“If you don’t have a stockpile of them now, you’re going to have a hard time finding them because there’s been a run,” said Walton.

In a tweet on Saturday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said:

“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!

They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus , but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

The U.S. Surgeon General said taking everyday, preventative measures like washing your hands and staying home when you’re sick are easy and effective ways of staying healthy.