On Monday, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection promulgated an emergency rule that makes price gouging illegal on any personal or household good or service that is needed to prevent or limit the spread of or treat the coronavirus.  The rule, which will be in effect for 60 days, makes it illegal to increase prices by 10% or more on products such as disinfectants, soap, other cleaning products, diagnostic products and services, medicines, and tissues.  

DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas said, “Now is the time for us to come together, not take advantage of each other for a profit but we continue to hear about and see empty shelves and price gouging.  We are using every tool in our toolbox to protect New Yorkers from price gouging during this public health emergency and I encourage consumers to file a complaint if they are overcharged."

Earlier this month, the DCWP prohibited price gouging on face masks and then expanded its restriction to include hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.  

The DCWP said that it has already received more than 1000 price gouging complaints -- and that it the agency is inspecting stores based on the complaints it receives.  The DCWP has already issued more than 550 violations for price gouging.