(WXYZ) — As residents stockpile goods in response to the growing concern over the coronavirus (COVID-19), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is focusing attention on businesses trying to take advantage of the public health scare by price gouging.
During a press conference led by the Michigan Attorney General's Office on Sunday, it was announced that Whitmer has signed an executive order to temporarily impose enhanced restrictions on "the excessive pricing of goods, materials, emergency supplies and consumer food items."
"Executive Order 2020-8 states that if a business or individual has acquired any product from a retailer, the business or individual must not resell that product in Michigan at a price that is grossly in excess of the purchase price of the product," according to a statement from the governor's office.
Businesses, as well as individuals, are not allowed to sell any product at a price more than 20 percent higher than what the business or individual offered or charged for that product as of March 9, according to the executive order. The only way to bypass this is if the business or individual can prove that the price increase is because of an increase in the cost of bringing the product to market.
“We will continue to take every measure we can to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and protect Michigan families,” Whitmer said. “In these challenging times, we need to come together as Michiganders. This order will help protect consumers from price gouging. Additionally, I'm working jointly with the Attorney General to enforce these orders, to protect consumers, and to hold bad actors accountable. We will get through this together.”
The executive order goes into effect March 16 at 9 a.m., and will stay in effect until April 13 at 11:59 p.m.