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City of Oxford, Cathead Vodka to provide free hand sanitizer to residents

Hand sanitizer has become one of the most sought after commodities – second only to toilet paper – during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the City of Oxford is providing some on Wednesday.

Through the help of Cathead Vodka out of Jackson, the City will be handing out bottles of hand sanitizer to residents at two locations until supplies run out.

Richard Patrick, one of the owners of Cathead Vodka, contacted Mayor Robyn Tannehill about the idea of bringing some of their sanitizer to Oxford. Cathead has been providing hand sanitizer to Jackson residents after converting its distillery, including setting up a couple stations around the capital city, over the weekend.

“Really, this all just came about 24 hours ago,” Tannehill said on Tuesday. “(Patrick) said he was going to partner with a couple communities to (provide hand sanitizer).”

Cathead brought four 55-gallon drums full of hand sanitizer to Oxford on Monday. On Tuesday morning, Tannehill and other City employees prepared the individual bottles at the conference center that will be handed out to residents.

The two distribution locations are in front of City Hall and the Jackson Avenue Center, where the Malco Oxford Studio Cinema is located. Bottles are limited to one per car and will be handed out beginning at 9 a.m. until that respective location’s supply runs out.

“We are excited about it,” Tannehill said. “We decided those two locations are our best options, as we need to protect the people that are coming to get it as well as our employees.”

City employees will be wearing masks and gloves, and when a car pulls up they will hand the driver a bottle, ensuring social distancing guidelines are followed.

Several essential businesses had contacted Tannehill about saving some of the supply reserved them to have at their establishments, but Tannehill said she told them that if they are not able to drive through one of the two Wednesday locations they can contact Oxford’s emergency management director Jimmy Allgood.

“We know how scary these times are and how many people need sanitizer and other safety items,” Tannehill said. “We also know that we won’t be able to serve everyone tomorrow, and for that we are sorry. These are difficult times, and we’re doing our best to address needs as we see them.”

If there is enough of a demand from those essential businesses, Tannehill said they will join with those businesses in trying to secure more hand sanitizer for their use.