Dubai Economy announced that it has fined 14 merchants for hiking the price of face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic, the department said in a Tweet on Sunday.
The announcement comes after the emirate imposed fines on individuals not wearing a mask in closed spaces. The UAE has since recommended that everyone should wear a mask in public to help combat the spread of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.
“Dubai Economy has imposed fines on 14 merchants including nine pharmacies in Nad Al Hamar, Al Mizhar, Nad Hessa, Sheikh Zayed Road, Hor Al Anz, A Twar, Al Qusais, Umm Suqaim and Al Warqa, for inflating the prices of face masks to exploit the rise in demand for hygiene essentials,” the department said in a tweet.
Five other merchants were also fined, including two supermarkets and suppliers, following consumer complaints, investigation, and verification of the price based on the supply chain.
Repeat offenses would lead to a doubling of the fine and the potential closure of the outlet in question, the ministry added.
Dubai Economy reminded businesses to refrain from taking undue advantage of the present situation and called on pharmacies & medical equipment suppliers to demonstrate their social responsibility by reducing the prices of essentials, as face masks, sanitisers, and disinfectants.— اقتصادية دبي (@Dubai_DED) April 5, 2020
Last week, three pharmacies in Dubai were fined for increasing the prices of face masks and sanitizers.
In January, Dubai Economy officially instructed all pharmacies and retail outlets to not increase their prices for face masks as fears over the deadly coronavirus pandemic have caused a surge in demand from consumers, businesses, and healthcare suppliers.
Consumers can raise their complaints and queries relating to price increases of their basic needs,— اقتصادية دبي (@Dubai_DED) April 5, 2020
including hygiene essentials, on the https://t.co/k5hwG9aBSV portal or by calling 600 54 55 55.
The UAE has reported 1,505 infections of the coronavirus, with 10 fatalities. The country has reported 125 recoveries so far.