On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to prevent price gouging and hoarding of “critical supplies” needed to fight the Disease That May Not Be Named (DTMNBN) outbreak.
“We have some people hoarding. We want to prevent price gouging and critical resources are going to be protected in every form,” Trump said at a press conference on Monday.
The White House stated that the president is authorized under the “Defense Production Act” to ban the hoarding of much-needed resources.
“President @realDonaldTrump just signed an EO to prevent hoarding & price gouging of supplies needed in our war against the #Coronavirus. This sends a strong message – we will not let those hoarding vital supplies & price gougers to harm the health of America in this hour of need.”
President @realDonaldTrump just signed an EO to prevent hoarding & price gouging of supplies needed in our war against the #Coronavirus. This sends a strong message – we will not let those hoarding vital supplies & price gougers to harm the health of America in this hour of need. pic.twitter.com/eksxQOVKNM
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) March 23, 2020
Attorney General (AG) William Barr emphasized that people who stockpile essential supplies are not going to be the target of the presidential action, however those who hoard items to sell with hiked up costs are, and could also be subject to investigation.
“If you have a big supply of toilet paper in your house, this is not something you have to worry about, but if you are sitting on a warehouse with surgical masks, you’ll be hearing a knock on your door,” he said.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) now has the authority to determine which items are prohibited on the market in “unnecessary quantities” above the fair market value in light of the brand new hoarding guidelines.
The HHS will work with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce the measure where hoarding could be impeding the availability of health and medical supplies which are needed to fight the spread of the virus, the White House stated. The items haven’t yet been designated as of this writing.
The goals of the measure are to make sure that hospitals, first-responders, and medical doctors have adequate supplies of critical medical equipment, together with personal protective gear and sanitizing and disinfecting items.
“By limiting access to these critical resources, those who engage in hoarding and price gouging could put both our medical workers and the health of the American people at risk,” the White House said. “All Americans must come together to help one another during this time and help combat the outbreak.”
The New York AG’s office told The Epoch Times last week that dozens of complaints came in about price gouging for masks, disinfectant sprays, and hand sanitizer.
The executive order comes after Trump on March 15 urged Americans to not stockpile groceries and other items as he assured that grocers would stay open and that the supply chain remained strong.
“You don’t have to buy so much,” Trump said at a White House briefing. “Take it easy. Just relax.”
According to official government data collated by Johns Hopkins University, as of Monday night, there have been 46,371 confirmed DTMNBN infections in the US and 585 deaths.