As face masks will soon become an everyday essential in Melbourne, Australia as new coronavirus rule to make wearing it mandatory, prices of the personal protective equipment (PPE) surge up to $250.

According to the new directive, Melbourne and Mitchell Shire residents need to wear a face mask when leaving the house to avoid a $200 fine starting at 11.59 PM on Wednesday, July 21.

However, hours before the implementation of the new rule, Priceline has been criticized for profiteering amid the pandemic as the store sells face masks for $250, which is five times the normal price.

Face Mask prices hike up to $250 as it becomes mandatory in Melbourne
(Photo : Big Bad Dennis/Twitter)
Apparel CEO claims face masks will become an everyday essential

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has already warned retailers against overcharging as people rush to buy to face masks as well as materials to make their own PPE.

Screenshots of Pipeline online store showing that for a 50 piece-pack of N95 face masks that were previously sold at $51.99 is now priced up to $249 are now circulating in social media, gaining ire from customers.

One Twitter user said it was disgusting for Priceline to spike up the price while another one said the store was a shame.

Meanwhile, Twitter user Elizabeth claimed to be a loyal customer for years, but she said she "will NEVER purchase from Priceline again" as taking advantage of the pandemic "is beyond disgraceful."

Meanwhile, Priceline explained that the price signifies the quality and number of face masks in each pack. A Priceline spokesperson also told Nine News that many stores have obtained face mask stocks for their communities, but where securing supply has been hard. The spokesperson also advised customers to understand which face mask is suitable for them by asking their pharmacist who will explain the differences between masks.

People line up as face masks become an everyday essential

Bonds Underwear CEO David Bortolussi said they began selling masks last month, which has been selling rapidly worldwide. While he hoped it would be temporary, the demand in Melbourne surges as new mandatory face-mask rules will be implemented within hours.

According to News.com, people are lining up to get hold of a mask to avoid getting $200 fine for not wearing the PPE. Numerous tweets show the long queues and chaos in stores, whereas people "climb over each other" to buy these PPEs.

Some people expressed their concern over the panic rush while shops were forced to put limits as panic buyers hit the stores. It seems the situation goes against the government's "stay home" message.

After getting approval to sell reusable masks, Bortolussi said the gear has been selling like pancakes. "It's been running hot in recent weeks," Bortolussi told the Financial Review adding that they cannot even cope up with the current demand.

The Hanes-owned underwear giant has already ordered 30,000 face masks to replenish their stock since the gear will become an everyday essential like underwear and socks, particularly after the new rule takes in effect.

Meanwhile, here is a simple hack on how to make a face mask using a sock.

 

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