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Amazon bans the public from buying N95 and other face masks during the COVID-19 crisis

Amazon bans the public from buying N95 and other face masks during the COVID-19 crisis
[Photo: thitimon toyai/iStock]

If you’re hoping to get your hands on any face masks (especially the coveted N95), large-volume hand sanitizers, surgical gloves, or facial shields to help protect you or your family from COVID-19, don’t go looking on Amazon for them—because the company won’t sell any to you.

As of yesterday, Amazon banned the public from buying any of those products on its website. While such products will still be listed on Amazon, their purchase will be strictly reserved for hospitals and government agencies. Matter of fact, Amazon has launched a dedicated COVID-19 supplies store that requires organizations to register and be approved to gain access.

Amazon told CNBC that the COVID-19 supplies store and new restrictions on customers buying products on it are to help ensure hospitals and government agencies can get the supplies they need. Amazon also notes on its new COVID-19 supplies store that the company will not make any profit on items purchased through it.

While some may be frustrated to learn they can no longer buy COVID-19-related supplies via Amazon, the move is a wise one from a public health perspective. It’s critical that frontline workers such as doctors and nurses get access to personal protective equipment so they can help treat those infected with COVID-19 safely. As worldwide COVID-19 cases passed a million yesterday—and could double to 2 million in just another week—it’s more important than ever that protective supplies go to those who need them most.

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