Medical face mask shortage at pharmacies as outbreak team urges their use
The Outbreak Management Team's advice to wear Type II medical face masks in more places came as quite a surprise for pharmacists and drugstores. They don't have stock of this type of mask, which was previously reserved for healthcare use, Jos Jongstra of the Central Bureau of Drugstores said to RTL Nieuws.
The OMT advised that everyone aged 13 and older wear a facemask in all indoor spaces where different households gather, even if you can maintain social distancing or have a fixed seat. The OMT also wants mandatory facemasks in crowded outdoor areas like shopping streets, demonstrations, and sports events. You can only remove your mask to eat or drink.
"Well, that was a surprise indeed. We get about 5 million visitors a week in the drugstores, and if they all want to come and buy face masks of a type that we don't have lying around, then we have a problem," Jongstra said to the broadcaster. "We do have face masks, but especially Type I masks. We still have a huge stock of that. But at the beginning of the corona crisis, Type II face masks were reserved for healthcare, so we didn't sell them in stores then, so we didn't buy that type."
The drugstores are now looking for ways to stock Type II face masks, but it will take time. "If the advice were to take effect Friday, we would not be ready," Jongstra said.