President Donald Trump has signed an executive order making it a crime to excessively stockpile personal protective equipment that is needed by medical personnel fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Attorney General William Barr says the Justice Department has already launched investigations into people who are hoarding supplies and price gouging. He says investigators will go after people who are “hoarding these goods on an industrial scale for the purpose of manipulating the market.”
The executive order allows the president to designate some items as “scarce.”
Barr says, “If you are sitting on a warehouse with surgical masks, you will be hearing a knock on your door.”
No specific items have been identified yet and the Justice Department will work with Health and Human Services to enforce the president’s order.
Trump also said the federal government is postponing the deadline for obtaining REAL ID-compliant identification cards because of the coronavirus.
Travelers would have been required to present REAL ID cards to board U.S. flights starting on Oct. 1. The president says a new deadline will be announced soon.
Under the law, Americans are required to visit their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and obtain a REAL ID-compliant card, or alternative such as a U.S. passport, if they want to fly domestically or access federal facilities.
The nation’s governors have urged the Department of Homeland Security to extend REAL ID deadline for no less than a year.