What once was a hot commodity at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic is now being handed out for free at a Chicago-area grocery store chain.
Mariano’s said Friday it will donate hand sanitizer to customers at all 44 store locations effective immediately.
"Throughout this pandemic, our most urgent priority has been to provide a safe environment for our associates and customers," said Amanda Puck, Mariano’s director of strategic brand development, in a statement. "We’ve established rigorous safety precautions across our stores, manufacturing facilities and supply chain throughout the pandemic."
Customers can find bottles of free hand sanitizer in a display near checkout counters at Mariano’s stores while supplies last. Mariano's encourages customers to "take one or more of the free bottles during their shopping trips and will be included with pickup orders."
"As pandemic restrictions continue to be lifted across the state, we are experiencing a reduced demand for hand sanitizer," Puck said, "and are pleased to provide free hand sanitizer at our Mariano’s stores to customers."
Illinois health officials on Friday reported 4,449 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, along with 62 additional deaths and more than 148,000 new vaccine doses administered.
In all, 1,399,946 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began. The additional deaths reported this week bring the state to 23,357 confirmed COVID fatalities.
The state has administered 228,430 tests since last Friday, officials said, bringing the total to more than 26 million tests conducted during the pandemic.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate on all tests rose to 1.9% from 1.5% the week before, and the seven-day positivity rate on individuals tested rose from 1.7% to 2.3%, officials said.
More than 57% of adult residents in the state are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 73% receiving at least one dose.