A Pennsylvania real estate firm was notified by the Pennsylvania State Police that they were in violation of Gov. Tom Wolf’s order for non-life-sustaining business to cease in-person operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tom Hosack, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty, told agents working for the company that they were to cease and desist doing all in-person activities in order to comply with the governor’s order.
“I know there has been a lot of passionate discussions between some agents who felt the need financially to continue to show homes versus the agents who- felt morally the need to stay home. I saw validity in both opinions,” he said. “Fortunately, that decision has been taken away from me. We were notified by the Pennsylvania State Police that we were in violation of the governor’s order by allowing houses to be shown.”
Warnings are being issued by the PSP to non-life-sustaining businesses that continue to operate and fail to comply with Wolf’s order. Enforcement began on Monday, March 23.
“We’ve been issuing warnings first and asking for voluntary compliance, but the enforcement piece is in place for us to issue citations,” said Ryan Tarkowski, PSP communications director. “We’re investigating tips called in by the public. However, we’ve found the vast majority of people want to do the right thing.”
Tarkowski said he has received calls from business owners who have closed their business, but are seeing other business people continue to operate as normal.
“Everyone should be coming together during this time. We understand it’s hard for businesses, but the faster we’re all on the same page, the faster we can all get through this,” he noted.
In addition to the PSP, the following state agencies and local officials are enforcing the closure orders to the full extent of the law: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, municipal police, and local officials, using their resources to enforce closure orders within their jurisdictions. All local law enforcement has been provided enforcement guidance that mirrors PSP’s.
The current list of businesses classified as life-sustaining, resources for affected businesses, and information for businesses to request a waiver/exemption are available from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
To report a non-compliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number. Do not call 911 to file reports.
For the most up-to-date information, be sure to continue to visit PARealtors.org/coronavirus for answers to the most pressing questions.