(NEW YORK POST) – Medical safety gear may be running perilously low at hospitals across New York — but not at this Brooklyn street corner.
An enterprising sidewalk vendor was hawking face masks and gloves outside a Rite Aid drugstore in Bushwick on Monday afternoon.
The Post saw about 40 customers dole out cash for the goods over a span of around 30 minutes at the intersection of Broadway and Halsey Street.
Surgical face masks were on sale for $2 each or six for $10, with washable cloth masks selling for $4 each and KN95 masks — a Chinese version of the high-efficiency N95 mask — available for $5.99 each, the same price as a box of 100 disposable gloves.
Each of the different masks was displayed on mannequin heads on a folded table covered with the personal protective equipment.
About three-quarters of the people who lined up — usually at intervals of about 3 feet, less than the recommended 6 feet for “social distancing” — were already wearing similar items.
“This is my second visit here today,” said Erika Mills, 28, who bought two packages of surgical masks.
“The prices are better than anywhere else, and it’s safer because it’s outdoors.”
Anthony Dominguez, 40, who also bought a package of surgical masks, called the operation “a great service to the community.”
“He’s selling an in-demand product at high supply and low cost,” Dominguez said.
“His prices are really good, so you don’t feel like you’re getting swindled. Everybody comes out a winner.”
The vendor, who wore a KN95 mask and gloves and gave his name as “Jay,” said he’d been working the corner from 2 p.m. until dark since Saturday.
In between replenishing his offerings from a white BMX X6 crossover SUV, he said he worked with “different suppliers” and generally cleared about $600 in profits a day from $2,000 worth of sales.
“It’s my choice to keep the prices low. There’s an epidemic, but at the same time I’ve got to feed my family,” he said.
“I don’t want to make a ton of money on a pandemic, so I keep my prices low and I get a lot of customers that way.”
Jay, who was being helped by an assistant in safety gear, also claimed his customers included medical workers whose hospitals aren’t providing them with PPE.
“Today there was a nurse that came here and told me he really needed some. They couldn’t get their hands on the N95s, and said the KN95s are just as good,” he said.
“So I donated some masks to him.”
He also claimed he’d been run off from another location by cops who “started harassing me.”
“After they made me move, they told me, can I donate all of my masks to the precinct?” he said.
“And I said, ‘No, because you guys harassed me and now you’re asking me for masks.’ So when I started selling here, at night, I take whatever I have left and give it to the local precinct.”
“And then, I go to Brookdale Hospital and pass them around to ambulance workers and people like that,” he added.
City Hall spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie said in an email that street vendors were exempt from the emergency order that shuttered “non-essential businesses” across the city, “as long as they are focused on selling essential items, like food or medical supplies.”
Lapeyrolerie also said even N95 masks were OK to sell, but noted that “we encourage people to save those masks for the people in the front lines (from healthcare to grocery store workers) who actually need them.”
The NYPD didn’t immediately return a request for comment.