HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Skyrocketing numbers of COVID-19 cases have prompted several communities in the Hazleton area to enact curfews and other restrictions in a desperate move to stop the spread.
At 8 pm Saturday and until 6 am the next morning, travel and movement will be prohibited in Hazleton. Four city officials have set up a large electronic billboard at Broad and Church Streets sending out the message — stay home and stay safe.
“What we want to tell people is the curfew will be enforced,” Hazleton City Council member Tony Columbo told Eyewitness News. “Our officers are with us and you as able to be stopped unless you have a note that you are going to and from work, are a firefighter, police, EMS, a healthcare provider you can be cited.”
Hazleton City has become a hot zone for COVID-19 cases in recent days and city leaders say it’s because many residents are not practicing proper social distancing.
In nearby West Hazleton another near Route 93 alerts residents of a curfew that took effect Friday night at 8 pm.
“So we have to try and get people to stay home and they don’t seem to be taking it seriously,” West Hazleton Mayor John Chura said.
Violating the curfew could result in fines of up to $300 dollars and 90 days in jail.
“We are going to have extra officers out and we are going to be enforcing the curfew from 8 pm to 6 am to stop people who don’t have to go out to stop the spread of this virus,” West Hazleton Police Chief Brian Buglio said.
Eyewitness News found mixed opinions from people on the street about the need for these curfews. Some agreed with the precautionary measures.
“I think everybody should be very cautious outside,” said Hazleton resident Ricardo Santos. “Listen to the authorities! If you have nothing to do stay home.”
But others, like Rose Ann Blasko from West Hazleton aren’t so sure the curfews are needed.
“I’m careful people are careful but I still think it’s overplayed I really do,” Blasko said.
Hazle Township, which surrounds Hazleton and West Hazleton also enacted a curfew Friday night.
There is so much concern in Hazleton that Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri Friday asked the Governor to mobilize the National Guard in the city. Pedri says he’s been in touch with the Governor’s office and expects to announce further details next week.
Eyewitness News reached out to the state government for comment. Read the response here.