Puerto Rico gov’t orders limiting number of basic emergency items sold to individuals
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Michael Pierluisi has ordered businesses to limit the sale of basic emergency items to a “reasonable amount” per person to ensure the availability of these products to the largest possible number of consumers.
Businesses that fail to implement the order immediately risk being fined up to $10,000 per violation.
“With the passage of Hurricane Irma by Puerto Rico and amid the imminent passage of Hurricane María, it is necessary to provide the people of Puerto Rico with access to reasonable quantities of basic necessities,” the order reads.
The order does not apply to retail gasoline sales and was activated under the “Insular Supply Act,” which comes into effect when DACO’s head determines that “the production and possible existence of essential items do not offer a guarantee of stability.”
“Although it seems there are shortages of certain products at this time, in our conversations with the industry we are assured more inventory will arrive [Monday]. There are already businesses, on the other hand, that have voluntarily set quantity limits. This order makes it mandatory for those who have not yet done so,” Pierluisi explained.
The order also doesn’t apply to procurement by the government, its agencies, instrumentalities and public corporations or the federal government and nonprofits.
Price freeze extended
The DACO official also announced the extension of his order to freeze the price of basic emergency items, as well as the profit margin on gasoline, diesel and liquefied gas sales.
The order freezes the price of water; ice; milk; canned food; gasoline, diesel and gas generators; water storage tanks and their modification, repair and installation service; equipment; parts; portable stoves; fuel storage tanks and containers; as well as batteries and flashlights of all kinds.