By Don Ford

EL CERRITO (KPIX) – Never mind finding hand sanitizer, disinfectant and toilet paper. Now there’s a shortage of patio heaters.

Major retailers across the nation are running out simple patio heaters. The popular Pastime Ace Hardware in El Cerrito is completely sold out. Manager, Jeffrey Pryde says it’s due to restaurants.

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“Well, the outdoor dining! You know, everyone had to be outside, the holidays, they can’t be inside, they gotta be outside.”

Restaurants are trying to stay alive and with winter coming, the supply of outdoor patio heaters simply couldn’t keep up with the massive demand.

Now the government is suggesting people stay outdoors at home for the family Thanksgiving Dinner.

“If you do have a holiday Dinner or gathering, please, it must be outside,” urges San Francisco Public Health official Grant Colfax.

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Meanwhile, Santa Clara Public Health Director Dr. Sara Cody describes how she plans to handle her mother this Thanksgiving.

“I will tell you that for Thanksgiving, I am gathering with my mother, who is in her 80’s. She will be outside, wrapped in blankets.”

But if you are outside in November, even here in California, you will need a patio heater. If you don’t have one already, good luck.

At Pastime Ace Hardware they are back ordered until next year, sometime in February. Pryde says they keep calling their supplier.

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“The answer is always the same,” he says. “Don’t know when we’re gonna get’em, and you’re not the only one calling.”