NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Laura Curran has yet another message for people price gouging:
Cut it out, or you’re going to pay.
The Nassau County executive again warned vendors inflating prices during the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak that police will be taking reported cases seriously and following up with substantial fines.
“Since this crisis hit, our Office of Consumer Affairs reports a surge of merchants who are trying to cash in on the coronavirus with outrageous prices, along with phony phone and email scams,” she said. “Along with everything else we’re dealing with as a society, it is unforgivable to prey on people in a vulnerable time.”
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Since the first 200 price gouging reports have come in after the county set up a reporting email at email@example.com, Nassau County has made $5,000 violation fines against 34 businesses. Some cases have been for repeat offenders:
- A pharmacy in Garden City was allegedly selling N95 masks individually for $20 each.
- An outlet store in Plainview was allegedly selling individual N95 masks in Ziplock bags for $4 each, and 20-packs for $50.
- A Seaford gas station allegedly sold 3-packs of Clorox wipes for $30.
Besides the price gouging, concerns about the pandemic remained high on Long Island on Monday, with 2,442 confirmed cases leaving 11 people still in critical condition due to the virus. Two new deaths were reported: a 51-year-old and 84-year-old, both of Hempstead and both suffering from underlying medical conditions before the outbreak.
Most businesses in Nassau County have already been ordered to close under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order from last week. Curran said 55 fire marshals would be checking to make sure non-essential businesses are closed and those still operating would be warned about the new restrictions.
“We had a gym that was open. We gave them a warning, made them aware of the executive order. They can look it up, themselves. We encourage people to go on the state website,” Nassau Count Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro said.
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Even before the order, dozens of complaints were coming in for those violating public assembly limits.
“We had two or three weddings that were being held they weren’t in compliance, restaurants still seating patrons,” Uttaro said.
Curran said landscapers are considered essential workers — to prevent a different kind health hazard.
“We will see more ticks and mosquitoes if things are not kept clean. We don’t want to see vermin,” Curran said.
Brand new landscaping, however, has been deemed non-essential, so it is not allowed.
And while there is no mandate to stop calling 911, Nassau County Health Commissioner D. Lawrence Eisenstein off the following plea to those who test positive for COVID-19;
“Please don’t call 911 … 911 has been pelted with people getting positive test results and even though there’s no need to run to the hospital, they’re calling in abundance and that endangers ambulance, and other patients,” Eisenstein said.
Other changes the county is putting in place starting this week include:
- PUBLIC TRANSIT: A change to the bus system to institute back-boarding, only letting passengers board from the rear doors while fares are skipped and the front doors remain closed.
- TAX GRIEVANCES: For people contesting their property taxes, the Nassau County Assessment Review Commission is also extending its filing deadline to April 30, again moving the date after two previous extensions. Offices will not be staffed but there is a dropbox and workers are remotely processing grievances, or property owners may file online.
- GOLF COURSES: Eisenhower Park and all other Nassau County golf courses have been ordered closed.