Health & Environment

Small community stores in Tai Wai are helping people in needs by giving out medical and cleaning supplies

Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, people are anxious about it. To prevent themselves from getting the virus, they started to panically purchase medical and cleaning supplies. Some other daily necessities such as toilet paper have all been snatched as well. People now have high demands for medical products. However, their demands can’t be met due to the supply shortage. To soothe the problem, some stores have decided to sell the goods at a low price or even give it out for free to people who are in need.

The coronavirus has led to the scarcity of resources, most of the goods from the supermarket have been sold off. People do not have much choice when they are buying daily goods, even most of the products like rice, eggs, and bleach have been bought up. Late-coming families might not be able to have what they needed.
People rush to the pharmacy in the early morning just to purchase a small amount of cleaning supplies at a high price, such as sanitizers and wet towels. However, the pharmacy only has a limited amount of goods. The insufficiency of cleaning supplies has now become a serious problem.
Each person can only purchase two packs of wet towels, the staff of the pharmacy will distribute the products one by one, in case some might take more than two packets. Most of the customers are the elderly. Despite the high costs, they still paid for it in exchange for health and safety.
Pharmacies and small stalls on the street can be commonly seen selling medical supplies, but when people get a closer look, they found the price is ridiculously high, some sellers sell a box of surgical masks in the price of over 300 dollars. “Some of them insist on buying it, even when they do not have much money,” Lai Wong, the owner of the small stall said.
The prices of the supplies are increasing, double or even triple higher than usual. People have been bothered by this problem for a while. But since the outbreak of coronavirus is getting more serious, they still have to get the goods from the unscrupulous sellers, so that they could feel a bit relieved.
Lee Chi-Hoi, 52, the owner of the Professional Hardware Supplier store in Tai Wai. When he learned about the current situation of society, he decided to help people who are in need. “I saw people desperately looking for medical and cleaning supplies, I wanted to help them,” he said.
Lee is now providing free bleach for people to bring home. People have been over buying the products and bleach has also become a rarity that we could barely get from the supermarket now. “Not only I’ll provide free bleach, but I’ll also give out free goggles and surgical masks that I ordered a month ago from the big factories to medical workers, this is my way to support them,” he said.
Cartons of bleach have been placed outside of Lee’s shop, he had bought 20 cartons of bleach and all of them will be offered to people who do not have sufficient cleaning products at home. People will need to bring their own bottle and each of them could get up to two bottles of bleach. The max for each is one liter. The act of Lee has been appreciated by the community.
Fung, 46, the owner of the small grocery store who only gave his surname. He rented the place temporarily just to sell the medical and cleaning goods to Tai Wai residents. He is also giving out rice for free. “I understand the circumstances now, so I decided to exert my humble effort,” He said.
Unlike some unscrupulous sellers, who cashed in on temporary shortages of supplies by raising prices, Fung decided to stand with Hong Kong citizens and sell a variety of cleaning products at affordable prices.
Cardboard printed with the slogan “Hongkongers fight the virus together” has been put on top of the store. The aim of Fung’s is to save Hong Kong together, he does not care about how much he earns, he cares about peoples’ needs. “I’m worried about people not getting enough resources, especially the elderly, they get sick easily, I want them to stay healthy,” he said.
Most of the shops in Tai Wai are connected and fighting the virus together by helping people in the community. This restaurant is in the “league” as well. Although some say that this is just a promotion trick, they still got a lot of support.
The owner of this restaurant also provides free bleach for people in the community. Also, they encourage people to donate surgical masks to people who are in need from the community, they could get a free meal from the restaurant in return for two surgical masks or more.
The street in Tai Wai remains silent, no more than ten people can be seen walking on the street. No doubt that the coronavirus has caused a serious issue now. People are still looking for effective protections, but seemingly that staying at home is the best way to avoid being exposed to the viruses.

 

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) is an English news publication produced by international journalism students at Hong Kong Baptist University. It started as a printed magazine in 1969. Today, TYR is produced across different platforms.

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