San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe has issued a price gouging alert in the wake of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proclamation of a State of Emergency due to the novel coronavirus.
The alert aims to prevent and expose illegally inflated sales of consumer food items or goods and emergency or medical supplies within the County. It is a crime to sell such items for a price that is over 10 percent greater than they were immediately prior to an emergency proclamation.
“There is an exception if the price increase is because of additional costs imposed by the supplier of the goods or for additional costs for labor or materials,” the DA’s Office said.
Those caught price gouging face a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in County Jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Wagstaffe is encouraging those who witness or experience price gouging to contact his office by calling (650) 363-4403. You can also complete the Price Gouging Incident Report, which can be found here. The form can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by mail to San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, Hall of Justice and Records, 400 County Center, 3rd Floor, Redwood City.
In San Mateo County, nine people have tested positive for COVID-19, including four cases confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and five “presumptive positive” cases undergoing review by the CDC. The County is working to identify potential sites on County-owned land to temporarily house patients whose needs can’t be accommodated at their homes, or who do not warrant hospitalization. Hospitals can’t release patients until suitable accommodations are identified, County officials said.
Residents with nonmedical, nonemergency questions about the coronavirus can call 211 or test 211211 at any time, day or night.
“The best and more reliable resource for information about the coronavirus and efforts to contain its spread locally is the San Mateo County Health and nationally is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Deputy County Manager Iliana Rodriguez. “There is a great deal of false and misleading information out there and anyone seeing something alarming should check the source.”