MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says it has stopped a Little Canada retailer from profiting off of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to an announcement sent out on Friday, Dragon Door Publications, Inc. (an online exercise and weight-lifting equipment retailer) was selling N95 face masks for $5 a piece, plus shipping. The retailer had not sold N95 masks before the recent coronavirus outbreak; and Ellison’s office says “they also offered to donate N95 masks with the sale of its $499 exercise fitness program.”READ MORE: Wisconsin To Vote On Requiring National Anthem Before Sporting Events
Under the terms of an agreement filed in Ramsey County District Court on Thursday, Dragon Door now agrees to stop selling N95 masks, to provide full refunds to all customers who purchased masks, and to donate their remaining masks. Dragon Door will face a $50,000 penalty if it violates any of the terms of the agreement.
Governor Tim Walz’s executive order classifies N95 face masks as personal protective equipment that non-hospital entities must refrain from using unless “delivering critical health care services.” Under the order, price-gouging on essential items like N95 masks is illegal while Minnesota’s peacetime emergency is in place.READ MORE: Woman Killed In Rollover Crash In North Minneapolis
Ellison is asking Minnesotans to report other instances of price-gouging on essential goods by filling out this form or calling his office at (651) 296-3353 in the metro or (800) 657-3787 in greater Minnesota.
Ellison released this statement on Friday:MORE NEWS: Gov. Walz To Discuss Minnesota's Vaccination Efforts On Bipartisan Roundtable
I’m calling on Minnesotans everywhere to report to my office any price-gouging on essential items they see. We’ve had almost 500 complaints in the first week, and we’re looking into every one. We’re helping Minnesotans afford their lives during this crisis by cracking down on pandemic profiteering and price-gouging on essential goods and services. Most retailers are doing the right thing by Minnesotans and I thank them for it. Some may think they’re trying to help and may not know they’re engaging in pandemic profiteering. But not knowing doesn’t make it okay, and we will still enforce the price gouging ban.