Businesses shutter as enforcement of closure order looms


SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, Governor Tom Wolf is taking another step to prevent the spread. Starting Monday morning, the state is using law enforcement to make sure ‘non-essential’ businesses stay closed.

Wayne Herring, owner of Skook Auto Sales was keeping his show room disinfected and clean after the warning about the COVID-19 outbreak.

As of Friday the car dealership in Schuylkill Haven is closed along with all other ‘non-life- sustaining businesses in the state. Governor Tom Wolf made the call as a preventative action  in this fight against COVID-19.

“Just the other day, we had a message from a guy who is on disability and was looking for car to go to his doctors appointment. We had to tell him we couldn’t sell him a car,” Herring said.

But starting Monday morning, the governor’s request will be backed up by threat of force. The police, the governor says, will help enforce the action.

Herring can fix a busted fan belt, but can’t sell a car, no matter how bad the customer needs one.

“I don’t like it but we will follow the law,” Herring said.

Violators could face criminal penalties such as fines or even jail time.

Herring says he’s filed a waiver for his dealership to be exempt, so he can help people who actually need a new car during this pandemic. He says most of his clientele is made up of emergency responders and the working class. People not just looking for an upgrade but who actually need a new car.

“We’re not trying to do this to just make a profit. We’re trying to provide the help to people who actually need help,” Herring said.

The service department  remains open but the owner will have to get creative if a customer comes in with a problem that can’t be fixed.

“If somebody’s really in danger, maybe a loaner car or something to get them through to the end but we are not going to break the law,” Herring said.

Aside from state police and local law enforcement, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Department of Health and Department of Agriculture can also take measures to enforce the law. Their guidelines mirror state police’s guidance.

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