Some complaining of price gouging on protective items amidst coronavirus worries

Reporter: Justin Kase
Published: Updated:
Store shelves that used to have protective supplies have been emptied. (WINK News)

For some, stocking up on supplies amid fear of the coronavirus reminds them of the preparations in the days and weeks leading up to hurricanes.

“It’s almost like a gouging war, you know, like a hurricane coming,” said Allen who lives in Fort Myers. “Go out and stock up on everything.”

Now, stores are housing empty shelves where hand sanitizers, antiseptics, gloves, cleaning supplies and fever reducers used to be.

“When I went to go buy it, there were only two left,” Allen said. “I grabbed the two off there and I felt lucky. I felt like I hit the lottery.”

Some are now turning to online shopping to get their hands on protective items, but they’re finding prices are double, triple or even higher than what they used to be.

“It was like $24.59 for the masks and the shipping was $24.59,” said Beverly Dommerich who lives in Fort Myers. “There’s no way that that little box could possibly have cost $24.59 to ship it to me.”

We reached out to Florida’s attorney general about the apparent price gouging and received the following statement:

“Manufacturers and sellers should be forewarned that our office will pursue any complaints we find actionable.”

Many here aren’t panicking, just preparing.

“I have a girlfriend whose son-in-law is flying out Friday. He’s panicked. So I gave her some of my supplies to give to him. I understand why you’re panicked,” Dommerich said.

Some of the stores we reached out to like CVS say they expect new supply shipments by the end of the week. They are still waiting to see how much of the protective supplies they’ll be receiving.


The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.