New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that the state would be making its own line of hand sanitizer. “NYS Clean” will be distributed to schools, government buildings, and public transportation hubs, in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus, which has infected 142 people in the state.
The development of NYS Clean, which is being produced by prisoners, comes amid a shortage of hand sanitizer and as some retailers in New York are jacking up prices for the product. Reports of sky-high prices for hand sanitizer and face masks have led New York City to beginning fining retailers up to $500 for price gouging.
“We are problem solvers,” Cuomo said Monday. “And there is price gouging on hand sanitizer and a high demand for hand sanitizer. What do you do? Make your own hand sanitizer.” It costs the state $6.10 to produce a one-gallon bottle of the sanitizer, Cuomo said, far less than it would cost on the open market.
Cuomo also touted the strength of NYS Clean, which has a 75 percent alcohol content. The CDC recommends at least 60 percent alcohol content to help kill germs. Regarding the smell, Cuomo said he detected “a hint of citrus.” At least one reporter disagreed.
The sanitizer, Cuomo said, is being produced by inmates at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Washington County. NBC New York has more details:
The sanitizer is made by prisoners for Corcraft Products, which is the “brand name” for the Division of Correctional Industries. Incarcerated people in locations around the state make products for Corcraft which are then sold to government agencies in New York including schools, fire departments and non-profits.
Corcraft’s website says the prisoners make everything from license plates, to mattresses, to cleaning products – all in the name of work experience and to prepare offenders for release.
At the press conference, Cuomo said the state will mass produce the sanitizer if price gouging continues. “To Purell and Mr. Amazon and Mr. eBay, if you continue the price gouging, we will introduce our product, which is superior to your product, and you don’t even have the floral bouquet,” he said. “So stop price gouging.”