Mountain Top Yard Compost/Yard Waste Facility will open June 10 Wednesday, please adhere to proper social distancing guidelines.
Wright Township municipal building and park open to public beginning June 4 with appropriate social distancing measures.
Follow basic personal-hygiene measures to prevent the spread of the virus:
- wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing;
- avoid handshakes;
- keep at least six feet apart from one another;
- avoid contact with sick people who are sick; and
- Stay home when you are sick.
Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance
As you are aware, on March 19, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf, along with Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of the Department of Health, ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. , March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19 (hereinafter referred to as “the Orders”). See list of lifesustaining businesses, attached. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 0:800 a.m. Monday, March 23. The Orders are attached hereto.
The closure of non-life sustaining businesses is a measure that has been taken to control the spread of a communicable disease, COVID-19, and has been ordered by the Governor and the Secretary of Health. The closures are enforceable through criminal penalties, under the Disease Control and Prevention Law of 1955 and the Administrative Code of 1929.
While other criminal penalties in those laws may apply, the following are the most directly applicable provision for enforcement of the Orders.
First, pursuant to the Administrative Code of 1929, 71 P. S. § 1409, states that: Every person who violates any order or regulation of the Department of Health, or who resists or interferes with any officer or agent thereof in the performance of his duties in accordance with the regulations and orders of the Department of Health, shall, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding before a justice of the peace, alderman, or magistrate of the county wherein such violation or offense is committed, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than ten ($10.00) dollars and costs nor more than fifty ($50.00) dollars and costs, such fine to be paid to the county in which the violation or offense is committed. In default of payment of such fine and costs the offender shall be sentenced to be confined in the proper county jail for a period of thirty days.
Thus, pursuant to 71 P.S. § 1409, any person that fails to abide by the Orders, or any other order of the Department of Health or who resists or interferes with any officer or agent thereof in the performance of his or her duties, is in violation of 71 P.S. § 1409, and subject to the criminal penalties stated therein.
Furthermore, under the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955, 35 P.S. § 521.1 et seq., the Secretary of Health has the authority to issue orders for isolation, quarantine and other control measures, such as the Orders. See 35 P.S. § 521.5. Under that act, Section 521.20 provides that any person violating a provision of the Disease Prevention and Control Law (such as control measures under section 521.5 and the Department’s regulations at 28 Pa. Code Ch. 27, Subch. C) is guilty of a summary offense and shall be fined $25 – $300. According to subsection(b) of section 521.20, “Prosecutions may be instituted by the department, by a local board or department of health or by any person having knowledge of a violation of any provisions of this act or any regulation.” This section provides authority for local law enforcement agencies to issue citations for violation of the Orders issued by the Secretary of Health and the Governor.
Thus, citations for businesses in violation of the Orders would reference 71 P.S. § 1409 and/or 35 P.S. § 521.20(a).
Finally, for more serious violators, there are also provisions under the Crimes Code for obstructing the administration of law or government function, including 18 Pa. C.S. § 5101, that may be applicable if someone refuses to abide by the restrictions ordered by the Governor or Department of Health.
I, of course, defer to you as law enforcement executives and District Attorneys to determine appropriate charges for suspected violations. However, given the unique nature of this event, and how quickly it is evolving, the Commonwealth is sharing its current understanding with regard to enforcement of the issued Orders. We strive to ensure enforcement of the orders will be consistent throughout the Commonwealth. We also expect that any discipline for violation of the orders will be progressive such that enforcement will begin with a warning to any suspected violator. Furthermore, enforcement should be prioritized to focus on businesses where people congregate. Below is a quick digest of other criminal penalties the Commonwealth has identified that may be applicable to enforce the control measures ordered by the Governor and the Department of Health to stop the spread of COVID -19.
A. The Pennsylvania’s Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955
35 P.S. § 521.20(a): Any person who violates any of the provisions of this act or any regulation shall, for each offense, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding before any magistrate, alderman or justice of the peace in the county wherein the offense was committed, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25) and not more than three hundred dollars ($300), together with costs, and in default of payment of the fine and costs, to be imprisoned in the county jail for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days.
27 Pa. Code § 27.8(a): A person who violates any provision of the [Disease Prevention and Control Act of 1955] shall, for each offense, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding before a district justice in the county wherein the offense was committed, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $25 and not more than $300, together with costs, and in default of payment of the fine and costs, shall be imprisoned in the county jail for a period not to exceed 30 days.
B. The Administrative Code:
71 P. S. § 1409: Every person who violates any order or regulation of the Department of Health, or who resists or interferes with any officer or agent thereof in the performance of his duties in accordance with the regulations and orders of the Department of Health, shall, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding before a justice of the peace, alderman, or magistrate of the county wherein such violation or offense is committed, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than ten ($10.00) dollars and costs nor more than fifty ($50.00) dollars and costs, such fine to be paid to the county in which the violation or offense is committed. In default of payment of such fine and costs the offender shall be sentenced to be confined in the proper county jail for a period of thirty days.
C. The Liquor Code: 47 P.S. § 4-462:
The [B]oard may, with the approval of the Governor, (a) temporarily close all licensed places within any municipality during any period of emergency proclaimed to be such by the Governor. (b) advance by one hour the hours prescribed in this act as the hours during which liquor and malt or brewed beverages may be sold in any municipality during such part of the year when daylight saving time may be observed generally in such municipality.
47 P.S. § 4-471: (a) Upon learning of any violation of this act or any laws of this Commonwealth relating to liquor, alcohol or malt or brewed beverages, or of any regulations of the board adopted pursuant to such laws, or any violation of any laws of this Commonwealth or of the Federal Government relating to the payment of taxes on liquor, alcohol or malt or brewed beverages by any licensee within the scope of this article, his officers, servants, agents or employes, or upon any other sufficient cause shown, the enforcement bureau may, within one year from the date of such violation or cause appearing, cite such licensee to appear before an administrative law judge, not less than ten nor more than sixty days from the date of sending such licensee, by registered mail, a notice addressed to him at his licensed premises, to show cause why such license should not be suspended or revoked or a fine imposed, or both. The bureau shall also send a copy of the hearing notice to the municipality in which the premises is located.
47 P.S. § 4-494: (a) Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this article, except as otherwise specifically provided, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100), nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), and on failure to pay such fine, to imprisonment for not less than one month, nor more than three months, and for any subsequent offense, shall be sentenced to pay a fine not less than three hundred dollars ($300), nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), and to undergo imprisonment for a period not less than three months, nor more than one year, or both. If the person, at or relating to the licensed premises, violates section 493(1), (10), (14), (16) or (21),1 or if the owner or operator of the licensed premises or any authorized agent of the owner or operator violates the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64),2 known as “The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act,” or 18 Pa. C.S. § 5902 (relating to prostitution and related offenses) or 18 Pa. C.S. § 6301 (relating to corruption of minors), he shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) or to undergo imprisonment for a period not less than three months, nor more than one year, or both. (b) The right to suspend and revoke licenses granted under this article shall be in addition to the penalty set forth in this section.
D. The Crimes Code
18 Pa. C.S. § 5101: Obstructing administration of law or other governmental function (M2) – a person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he intentionally obstructs, impairs or prevents the administration of law or other governmental function by force, violence, physical interference or obstacle, breach of official duty, or any other unlawful act, except that this section does not apply to flight by a person charged with crime, refusal to submit to arrest, failure to perform a legal duty other than an official duty, or any other means of avoiding compliance with law without affirmative interference with governmental function
Coronavirus Rumor Control
The purpose of this FEMA page is to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis, stay informed with our updated myth vs. facts related to the federal (COVID-19) response.
For more information on the coronavirus, please visit coronavirus.gov You can also visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) response page for more updates on the federal response. Follow state and local officials as well for instructions and information specific to your community.
Myth: There is a national lockdown and the entire country will be quarantined for two weeks.
Fact: There is no national lockdown. As with all information online or shared via social media, it is important to verify the source of the information. You can find the latest information as well as links to additional resources at www.coronavirus.gov.
Myth: FEMA has deployed military assets.
Fact: No, FEMA does not have military assets. Like all emergencies, response is most successful when it is locally executed, state managed and federally supported. Each state’s governor is responsible for response activities in their state, to include establishing curfews, deploying the National Guard if needed and any other restrictions or safety measures they deem necessary for the health and welfare of their citizens.
Myth: I need to stockpile as many groceries and supplies as I can.
Fact: Please only buy what your family needs for a week. It is important to remember that many families may be unable to buy a supply of food and water for weeks in advance. Consumer demand has recently been exceptionally high – especially for grocery, household cleaning, and some healthcare products. Freight flows are not disrupted, but stores need time to restock.
Myth: I heard that the government is sending $1,000 checks. How do I sign up?
Fact: The U.S. Government is not mailing checks in response to COVID-19 at this time. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer. It’s important that you only trust information coming from official sources. The Federal Trade Commission recently provided more information about this scam and other common COVID-19 related scams on their website.
Myth: Only those over 60 years of age and those with existing health problems are at risk from the Coronavirus.
Fact: It is an unfortunate rumor that only people over 60 years of age are at risk of getting this disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those at higher risk include older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions. However, symptoms can range from mild to severe with and may have different complications for each individual. The CDC has a list of COVID-19 symptoms you may experience. Please continue to follow the official information from the CDC.
03/22/2020 – 14:21
What steps can our township take to protect our community from COVID-19?
Township officials have a public safety responsibility to govern their communities and ensure that essential services, such as police, fire, and emergency medical services.
As townships work to continue to provide critical services to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, PSATS is providing a one-page guidance on steps that your township could take to protect your township from COVID-19, as well as links to critical information resources.
- How can we protect our residents and employees?
- Practice social distancing, such as no longer shaking hands, limiting meetings, and staying six feet apart.
- Consider rescheduling non-essential community events.
- Limit visitors by providing services online and on the phone, allow bills to be paid at a drop box or behind a window, or provide other means to do business with the township.
- Practice good hygiene by covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands thoroughly, and requiring employees to stay home if they are sick.
- Encourage residents to have basic supplies on hand in case they become sick or need to be quarantined, such as a two-week supply of food and medicines.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces daily, ensure that bathrooms have adequate soap and drying materials, and make hand sanitizer available throughout your facilities.
WRIGHT TOWNSHIP SERVICES UPDATE – COVID 19 as of 033020
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, WRIGHT TOWNSHIP MUNICIPAL BUILDING IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC DUE TO THE ONGOING COVID-19 MEDICAL SITUATION. UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE OFFICES ARE OPEN TO OFFICE PERSONNEL ONLY. WE WILL CONTINUE TO SERVICE THE COMMUNITY VIA PHONE, EMAIL, AND MAIL.
For all police, fire and medical emergencies, please call 911.
For non-emergency police business, please call the Wright Township Police Department Non-Emergency number of 570-474-9251. Calls to the non-emergency number will be evaluated on whether a police response is required. If there is no answer, please leave a message and an Officer will contact you as soon as possible.
Until further notice, the nonessential police department services will be suspended. That will include fingerprinting service, station tours, visits or police attendance at functions. Also, the Police Department is unable to accept home prepared food deliveries at this time.
Building and zoning permits applications can be obtained on the internet at http://wrighttownship.org/zoning . Please scan and email permit applications to email@example.com. The zoning/code office is currently closed. However, someone will get back to you via email or phone. Due to the governor’s ban on business activity including construction, there is no construction. However, permit applications are being accepted.
The Wright Township Recycling Center will be closed until further notice.
The Mountain Top COG yard waste facility will be closed until further notice.
The Wright Township recreation area has closed the basketball courts, tennis courts, play area, and dog park facilities. The walking trail and fields will remain open and once again we request that social distancing practices are used.
Any events or park usage for groups are cancelled/rescinded/postponed until further notice. Annual Spring cleanup is also postponed.
District Court is closed and all hearings will be rescheduled. You will receive notice via mail. Forms for landlord/tenant/civil complaints can be obtained/dropped off in the foyer of the building. For further instructions on payments, please call 570-474-6844 and listen to the message.
Thank you for understanding the need to take these necessary steps so we can ensure the safety of our officers and employees. Wright Township will be here to continue to provide public safety services and other essential services for the community. If you have any further questions or need assistance, please call 570-474-9067.
Please know we will be monitoring the situation as virus conditions continue to change and evolve. Should the Federal Government or Commonwealth of PA institute conflicting regulations or declarations those will supersede the notices above.