Gov. Tom Wolf's order to close physical locations of non-life-sustaining businesses went into effect at 8 a.m. today, and local and state law enforcement are ensuring that the statewide directive is followed.
Huntingdon Borough Police Chief Jeff Buckley believes the majority of the local population understands the need to close up shop in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"I feel that most people are compliant," he said. "As we look at the landscape this morning, people are adhering to the governor's order and recognizing the seriousness of the situation."
A statement released from the Wolf administration said that failure to comply could result in citations, fines, license suspensions and even jail time.
The order to close non-life-sustaining businesses was originally put out March 19 with enforcement to begin at midnight March 21. However, due to the large influx of waiver requests, enforcement was delayed until today.
"We'll take a case-by-case approach and work with people and see if they’re allowable and if they can be open and if not, then we’ll take it from there," said Buckley.
Co. Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), said in a press release from the Wolf administration that “The priority of the Pennsylvania State Police is protecting lives and maintaining order in the commonwealth. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, troopers and liquor control enforcement officers are prepared to ensure compliance with Gov. Wolf’s order."
Along with local police departments and the PSP, Wolf has authorized the following state agencies to enforce the orders "to the full extent of the law": the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture.
A complete list of businesses deemed life-sustaining can be found at: https://dig.abclocal.go.com/wpvi/pdf/032020-wpvi-for-natalie-pdf.pdf.
Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.