As below-freezing temperatures continue to grip North Texas, Dallas County judge Clay Jenkins has issued a local disaster declaration that prohibits the price-gouging of essentials like food.
The order, issued by Jenkins on Monday, prohibits the sale of groceries, beverages, ice, and other items for “more than the regular retail price.” The order also applies to meals served in restaurants, cafeterias and “boarding-houses,” along with restrictions on increasing the prices of non-food essentials, including medicine, hotel rooms, and toiletries. The only exception to Jenkins’s order is that a restaurant or other food vendor is allowed to increase the prices of their goods if the “increased retail price is the result of increased supplier or other costs,” according to the order.
The order comes as thousands of people across the Dallas-Fort Worth area are stuck without the ability to prepare hot food at home thanks to widespread power outages and rolling blackouts across the region. It’s likely that these outages will continue throughout Monday as the state’s power grid has effectively “crumpled” under the massive strain of its resources as millions of Texans try to heat their homes during unprecedented single-digit temperatures across the state.
Jenkins’s order went into effect at 8 p.m. on February 15, and will be in effect until it is rescinded.