‘I Don’t Understand What Authority They Have’: Pa. Businesses Refusing To Close Despite Gov. Wolf’s Shutdown Order Due To Coronavirus

ADAMS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Some businesses are refusing to follow Gov. Tom Wolf’s order for all “non-life-sustaining” businesses to close to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Enforcement is now underway after the governor’s order last Thursday.

Enforcement by local and state law enforcement began Monday at 8 a.m.

State Police Trooper Steve Limani told KDKA they have not written any citations but are first educating the businesses on why they should close.

In Adams Township, Sharon Puluso opened her boutique gym “The Training Centre” like any other Monday.

She said the governor does not have any right to close a private business, and her clients still need a place to exercise.

She told KDKA they are practicing social distancing and doing extra cleanings throughout the facility.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“We don’t have a state license to operate, so I don’t know how they can cite a business that they are still opening. I don’t understand what authority they have. So it’s another question we have as small business owners,” Puluso said.

While she posted the research she found on the front door, KDKA took her questions to Trooper Limani.

“One thing I can tell them is that you can be arrested. It could start as a simple citation,” Limani said.

Limani told KDKA that if you do not fall under the governor’s list as a life-sustaining business, you will be cited because you are endangering the welfare of the public.

He said the order is to protect people and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“The Disease and Control Prevention Law of 1955 and the Administrative Code of 1929, those are two specific codes that give the governor the ability to enact these types of confinements on what they should be doing and what they can’t be doing,” Limani said.

If you believe a business is not complying, you are asked to call your local law enforcement’s non-emergency number first.

Do not call 911.

Several businesses including “The Training Centre” were still open on Monday in Adams Twp and some had already received calls from local law enforcement to comply with the order.

“Adams Township pursuant to Governor Wolf’s order is urging all non-life-sustaining businesses that have no already closed in the township to close immediately. The health, safety and welfare of township residents mandates there will be enforcement of the order by local authorities,” said Adams Twp Police Chief Shawn Anglum and Chairman of the Township Supervisor Board Russ Ford in a statement to KDKA.

Several other law enforcement agencies, including state police, said they are not actively seeking out the businesses but will write citations off calls of concern and if they see the businesses not obeying the order while on patrol.

*story by CBS Pittsburgh