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Price gouging on hand sanitizers and other products amidst Covid-19 threat; Belizean public at mercy of business owners

Posted: Friday, March 13, 2020. 11:57 am CST.

By BBN Staff: There is major concern growing among Belizeans about price gouging occurring just as Belizeans prepare to face the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

A picture taken from a store in San Ignacio and shared with BBN shows a hand sanitizer product that usually costs $8.00 hiked to an astounding price of $24.50.

Yesterday, BBN staff visited a grocery store in San Ignacio and confirmed that an 8 oz. hand sanitizer that costed $3.00 last week is now being sold for $8.95.

The prices for face masks have also been hiked from $2.00 to $6.00. Apart from price gouging on these article, consumers are having difficulty find them since numerous stores have run out of these supplies. Even the price of rubbing alcohol has skyrocketed and is now in short supply.

There have been several viral posts on social media showing the ridiculously hiked prices of hand sanitizers, Clorox, disinfectants and other sanitary products.

Belizeans are now appealing to the relevant authorities including the Belize Bureau of Standards to intervene as this is an emergency situation and should not be taken advantage of.

At the Covid-19 press conference yesterday, the issue was raised but government said that there is no price control on these products and as such the Bureau of Standards cannot legally act at this point. Government would only be able to act if legislation is passed to put price controls on these items. As a result Belizeans at this time are at the mercy of the business owners.

However, the Mayor of Punta Gorda, Ashton Mackenzie is not waiting for the Government to pass legislation. This morning, Mayor Mackenzie warned stores that if they are caught hiking prices amidst the precautionary measures that Belizeans are taking for Covid-19, their trade licenses will be revoked.

 

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