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Middletown, Lower Swatara police have no confirmed reports of businesses failing to close


Middletown police have not responded to any reports of non-life-sustaining businesses failing to close because of the coronavirus, and Lower Swatara police have heard of only one, but the business in question might have a waiver.

Acting Middletown Police Chief Dennis Morris told the Press & Journal on Tuesday that any enforcement through his department must be reported to him, and he has received nothing so far.

“It's been all voluntary and people are complying to the best of my knowledge,” he said.

Lower Swatara Police Chief Jeffrey Vargo said Monday that the department received one complaint through the State Police about a business that might be in violation, but his department was determining if it is. He declined to name the business Monday and was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Statewide through Tuesday, the Pennsylvania State Police have issued 44 warnings — 27 on Monday and 17 on Tuesday.

For the State Police’s Troop H coverage area, of which Dauphin County is a part, there were 4 warnings Monday and 2 on Tuesday, for a total of 6. Troop H covers Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, Franklin and Adams counties. State Police figures did not break down by county where the warnings were issued.

Enforcement began Monday against non-life-sustaining businesses who failed to comply with Gov. Tom Wolf's order closing their physical locations.

“As expected, we found the overwhelming majority of people and businesses across the commonwealth are voluntarily complying with the order and doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Col. Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, said Monday “This process is two-phased beginning with warnings to gain voluntary compliance, followed by enforcement as necessary.”

There have been no citations given anywhere in the state.

Wolf said Monday that he hopes citations are not necessary.

As far as enforcing the order that goes into effect Monday, Wolf said: “Almost all the businesses in Pennsylvania have been compliant,” he said. “If some are not, then the police — local and/or state, together, singly — will go in and remind the business that you are not considered essential, you are not life-sustaining, so you should be closing. You should not be open. They have the ability to issue citations, but the idea is, and the hope is, that the businesses that have remained opened are doing that because they haven’t understood the order.”

How does a business apply for a closure waiver because of the coronavirus? How long does it take for a decision? Get answers by clicking here.