Department of Internal Trade seeks to avert mask shortage

Department of Internal Trade seeks to avert mask shortage

The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) has urged companies producing face masks to work to full capacity to meet a steep rise in demand since the compulsory wearing of masks outdoors came into effect.

The new wave of Covid-19 sweeping the country has resulted in an upsurge in demand for face masks as people are required to wear them outdoors, DIT director-general Wattanasak Sur-iam said yesterday.

Despite the current circumstances, materials used for producing face masks remained sufficient on the market, he said. It was reported that some manufacturers have scaled back production as they wait for new orders.

The DIT has asked manufacturers to inform it about the total amount of available stock they have in storage. If there is a shortage, the agency would work to find enough supply.

Apart from asking manufacturers to maintain or increase production, the DIT has also told them to peg the price at between 1.90 and 2.50 baht per mask.

Mr Wattanasak said Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has instructed provincial commerce offices to closely monitor face-mask supply to ensure it meets demand and enforce laws preventing the prices of certain items such as masks and hand sanitiser being jacked up. Those who come across overpriced masks should contact the 1596 hotline. Violators could face a five-year jail term, a fine of up to 100,000 baht, or both.

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