WEST HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) The talking is over and the enforcement has begun. Governor Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close by 8:00 Monday morning or they could face penalties.
The governor says it’s all aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. The state police is one of several state agencies that will enforce the governor’s closure order. We wanted to know how this order will be carried out.
“Our goal through this whole thing is the safety of the citizens of the commonwealth and to maintain order in the commonwealth.”
That is the bottom line. So says Trooper David Peters from the state police barracks in West Hazleton. We spoke with him via FaceTime in order to maintain the recommended social distancing.
“It’s not like there were troopers or other liquor enforcement officers, Department of Health agents lined up at businesses at 8:01 a.m. to go ahead and fine people or place them under criminal scrutiny. The goal is to educate them and bring them into compliance with the governor’s order so we can stop the spread of COVID-19 virus.”
Governor Wolf insists it is part of the state’s strategy to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
“As I have said before stopping the spread of COVID-19 will take contributions and sacrifice from every Pennsylvanian. We all need to change the way we live our lives for a period of time so we can emerge safe and healthy,” the governor said.
Trooper Peters could not say if any businesses had been approached today by troopers.
“I can’t say that fines are going to be readily handed out today. I think the goal is to get them under compliance,” he told Eyewitness News.
The governor says his administration has received tens of thousands of waiver appeals asking for an exemption to the closure orders. For now, those businesses that are considered non-life-sustaining should be closed.
Business owners who violate the closure order face hefty fines, then loss of their license and any state funding they receive from the commonwealth. For a full list of businesses that fall under the governor’s closure order click here.