(CNN) — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on Friday that it has increased its carry-on liquid limit to up to 12 ounces for hand sanitizers.
"TSA understands that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is at the forefront on the minds of travelers, as health officials are encouraging that individuals wash their hands frequently," the agency announced on its website. "With that in mind, TSA is allowing passengers to bring liquid hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces to be permitted in carry-on bags until further notice."
While this news comes as a comfort, I couldn't help but wonder: Where, pray tell, am I to even find a 12-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer? One that isn't marked up by 300% or so?
Hand sanitizer is a hot commodity
Hand sanitizer is suddenly very popular.
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
I walked around my Brooklyn neighborhood on Saturday searching for hand sanitizer. My two-ounce bottle is half-full and not nearly enough to see me through. There are two Rite Aids within 10 blocks of my home, one CVS and two local pharmacies, and they all were sold out.
I went to the corner bodega two blocks away to pick up a few more cans of soup and other non-perishable items. Then, right next to the register, I spotted it: One 8-ounce bottle, for $14.99.
But I didn't recognize the brand, and the ingredients didn't seem up to snuff (it did not contain the 60% alcohol formulation that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends).
I decided to let it go and hope that I could find some at the airport on Monday, which is when I am scheduled to fly from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Los Angeles.
Online sales of items including hand sanitizers, gloves, masks and anti-bacterial sprays jumped more than 800% in January and February, compared to the same period last year, CNN reported. Dollar sales of hand sanitizer in the four weeks ending on March 7 surged 228% when compared to the same period last year, Nielsen, which tracks US retail sales, found.
New York state to make its own hand sanitizer
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo (center) says the state will make hand sanitizer.
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that the state will make its own hand sanitizer — but it's unclear if and when it will become widely available.
In the press conference, Cuomo described the sanitizer, which is now in production, as a "superior product to products now on the market."
Though there is not yet a timetable for distribution, New York State Clean hand sanitizer will initially go the cluster of infected citizens in New Rochelle, New York. It will be manufactured by inmates at New York state correctional facilities.
Other businesses are also stepping up to address the shortages.
In Georgia, Atlanta's Old Fourth Distillery started making its own hand sanitizer. It was so popular, the business said in an Instagram post that it sold out on Saturday, and plans to make more next week.
I suppose if there were a nearby distillery, I might be able to get my mitts on some fancy boozey alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Sadly, I don't live in Atlanta (though many of my colleagues do) to avail myself of the Old Fourth Distillery's special potion.
In lieu of that, I guess I'll just hope my remaining one ounce of hand sanitizer gets me through until I can find a place to refill it.