County Prohibits Increased Selling Prices of Products Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
Hawai‘i County has prohibited price gouging as store shelves are emptied of soap, hand sanitizer and toilet paper in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Wednesday, Mayor Harry Kim issued a supplementary emergency proclamation, which invokes a state statute stopping any increase in the selling price, whether at the retail or wholesale level. Commodities include:
- Food, water, or ice
- Medical supplies, medical protective measures, medications, vitamins, or any other commodity intended to help the population stay well, recover from any illness, or protect them from any illness
- Personal hygiene, paper and disposable cleaning products including but not limited to cleaning supplies of any kind or any other commodity intended to help sanitize or clean individuals items, or areas
- Any other commodity that the seller or contractor knows or should know are intended for use by any member of the public or entity of any type to prepare for, respond to, or use due to circumstances giving rise to the emergency related to COVID-19
The Supplemental Proclamation will continue for 60 days, to May 10, 2020, or until further action by the Mayor’s Office.
The original Emergency Proclamation, issued on Feb. 28, was aimed at heightening awareness of the virus, as well as allow for greater mobilization of County resources, positions the County for reimbursement should State or Federal monies become available, allow for coordination with Federal, State and NGO (non-governmental organization) partners and allow for reassignment of County personnel if necessary.
During the County council meeting on Wednesday, Kim said, there is a multi-disciplinary task force in place to help address medical responses and provide education programs to the community on the novel coronavirus. Those efforts are ongoing, as the mayor told council members this pandemic is a community issue.
“This is a community issue, and it will take community involvement,” Kim stated.