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State police to begin enforcing virus-prompted business closures

The Pennsylvania State Police said they will begin enforcing Gov. Tom Wolf’s order closing the physical locations of non-life-sustaining businesses at 8 a.m. Monday to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Col. Robert Evanchick, commissioner for state police, said troopers are ready to assist in enforcing the order, but they are encouraging compliance.

“The priority of the Pennsylvania State Police is protecting lives and maintaining order in the commonwealth,” Evanchick said in a press release. “In light of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, troopers and liquor control enforcement officers are prepared to ensure compliance with Governor Wolf’s order.”

Violations are summary offenses punishable by fines and possible jail time, as well as administrative penalties, police say.

“We believe most Pennsylvanians want to act responsibly and do their part to help slow the spread of this deadly virus,” he said. “Troopers and liquor control officers will make every effort to achieve voluntary compliance by educating business owners and using discretion when appropriate. But our message is clear: COVID-19 is a serious health and public safety risk that requires an extraordinary response from law enforcement and the public.”

Along with the state police, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the departments of Health and Agriculture and local officials will help the state police in enforcing the temporary closures.

“I urge everyone to stay home, stay calm, and stay safe,” Evanchick said in the news release.

Wolf ordered the shutdown of all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania Thursday, closing their physical locations to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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