Bergen County officials warn retailers against taking advantage of coronavirus panic

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Bergen County officials are warning retailers in the county against price gouging certain supplies surrounding the coronavirus situation.

At a news conference Friday, county officials said that they would be checking to make sure items like disinfectant wipes, gloves, masks and bottled water were not overpriced.

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People around New Jersey have been rushing out to buy items to protect themselves and their families from the illness. Items like Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer and bottled water have been sold out at many stores. This is also true for surgical masks and gloves.

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“There’s widespread panic about hoarding hand sanitizers and Lysol wipes and everything of that nature,” says Assistant Bergen County Attorney Christina D’Aloia. “We’ve had issues in the past with [Superstorm] Sandy, so we just want to be proactive this time around.”

MORE: WATCH: Special News 12 Q&A on the coronavirus outbreak 

Businesses could face a $2,500 fine for selling overpriced products relating to the prevention of coronavirus. Bergen County officials define price gouging as a price increase of over 10% above the normal price.

“We will be doing spot checks,” D’Aloia says.

Some New Jersey residents tell News 12 New Jersey that they have not noticed any price gouging at brick-and-mortar stores. But that they have seen some from people selling items online.

Bergen County leaders say the spot checks at local business begin Monday in Englewood and Fort Lee then will move to the rest of Bergen County into Passaic County.

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 News 12 will host a 30-minute call-in show Monday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. where experts will answer your questions about the coronavirus. The show will be followed by a special Facebook Live Q&A.

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