President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to prevent hoarding and price increases of supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“We will not let those hoarding vital supplies & price gougers to harm the health of America in this hour of need,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a tweet on Monday announcing the move.
At a White House briefing, Attorney General William Barr said the government won’t go after a family with a big supply of toilet paper at home, but “if you have a warehouse of surgical masks, you’ll hear a knock on the door.”
He said the government had already initiated investigations of activities that are disrupting the supply chain and suggestive of hoarding. The president has given the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to designate items that people are prohibited from accumulating in more than reasonable amounts and from selling for above market value. Such items haven’t yet been designated, Barr added.
Since the coronavirus outbreak escalated in the U.S., there have been runs on hand sanitizer, toilet paper, bleach wipes, meat and canned soup, among other products. People have attempted to sell cleaning products and other supplies at inflated prices on Amazon.com Inc., eBay Inc. and other sites, leading to a crackdown by the platforms.