CAMDEN, NJ — Although Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Monday that price gouging complaints funneled in for some 900 businesses in New Jersey, racking up price points to take advantage of anguished customers hasn’t presented as much of an issue in Camden County.
As of Wednesday, the county had 70 positive COVID-19 cases and at least one death. Officials hope by limiting self-service, residents will be better protected from contracting the virus while obtaining food throughout the area.
County spokesperson Dan Keashen told TAPinto Camden on Tuesday that it has not received any complaints so far regarding price gouging — granted he said due to a limited staff they have been unable to "constantly oversee this issue."
Businesses violating self-serve rules, however, has presented more of a problem.
“Unfortunately, recent reports from county health inspectors have revealed a distressing level of disregard for measures put in place to stem the spread of coronavirus and protect the lives of Camden County residents,” said Freeholder Director Lou Capelli. "In far too many instances, retailers are continuing to operate self-serve beverage and food offerings such as coffee, grill rollers, and more."
To ramp up efforts, County Health Officer Dr. Paschal Nwako recently sent the following robocall to the public: “To decrease the spread of COVID-19, while food shopping for your family, be mindful to avoid any self-service items, such as, salad bars, coffee bars, loose rolls, and baked goods. These items must be individually wrapped.”
Anyone that happens upon self-service in Camden Count is encouraged to call a food surveillance unit at (856) 374-6052.
“The order to suspend all self-serve items and operations in Camden County was part of the Freeholder Board’s revised emergency declaration issued on March 18,” said Cappelli. “To any retailer who believes they can continue to put our residents’ lives at risk without penalty, you are wrong. We will not tolerate these dangerous, short-sighted actions.”
On Thursday at 3 p.m., Camden’s Freeholder Board and Congressman Donald Norcross will host a second virtual town hall to address public concerns.
It will stream from Camden County’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/camdencountynj/.
Statewide, there are now 4,402 positive cases and 62 reported deaths.