Advertisement

Coronavirus: Family fined after selling medical masks in Port Coquitlam at steep prices

Vancouver hospitals report theft of medical supplies, masks and hand sanitizer
WATCH: Vancouver hospitals report theft of medical supplies, masks and hand sanitizer (March 5)

A family has been fined and attracted the anger of Port Coquitlam’s mayor after getting caught re-selling medical face masks at McClean Park on Friday.

Pictures sent to Global News show large brown boxes, filled with smaller boxes of supplies. A cash box could also be seen on a folding table set up next to the large boxes.

A family sells medical masks in a Port Coquitlam park on March 20, 2020.
A family sells medical masks in a Port Coquitlam park on March 20, 2020. Submitted

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said he heard from several residents that the family was selling the masks at $20 each, while others told him the asking price was $40 a box.

Story continues below advertisement

No matter the price, the mayor said the practice of reselling medical supplies at steep markups is unacceptable.

“I don’t know how [these] people look at themselves in the mirror in this time of crisis when the whole world is trying to pull together,” he said. “This is one of the most egregious things I have ever seen as my time as mayor.

“I can’t actually say what I think of what these people have done. You would need to bleep it out. To have people try and sell supplies that are short-stocked in our hospitals and try to make a buck is beyond anything I can comprehend.”

Tweet This

READ MORE: ‘Stop buying masks!’: B.C. care providers say hoarding linked to coronavirus causing medical supply shortage

The family was fined for operating an unauthorized business, but West says that didn’t stop them from setting up shop again.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“They actually, if you can believe this, they came back a second day,” the mayor said. “It’s jaw-dropping and stupid.”

Experts say panic buying during COVID-19 could be self-defeating
Experts say panic buying during COVID-19 could be self-defeating

The family is now on the hook for $500 for both days, and West said the city filed a report with Coquitlam RCMP.

“I am hoping and praying that the RCMP are able to lay criminal charges, because that’s what is required here,” he said. “Criminal accountability will do far more than a fine from a city can ever do.

“There needs to be a clear message sent that this will not be tolerated. They need to make an example of these people to send a message.”

Tweet This
Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Medical supplies dwindle as COVID-19 continues to spread around the world

West says bylaw officers were told the product was shipped from China.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said earlier this week that those caught re-selling medical supplies will be tracked down and punished.

Global News has reached out to Coquitlam RCMP for comment.