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2020 News

Consumer Hotline Open for “Non-Life-Sustaining Business” Complaints

March 20, 2020

Media Contact: Michael D. Bannon, Consumer Protection, 215-348-6060, mdbannon@buckscounty.org

While much remains unclear about the practical enforcement of Gov. Wolf’s order to close all “non-life-sustaining” businesses in the Commonwealth, the Bucks County Department of Consumer Protection is asking callers with related concerns to call the department’s hotline at 1-800-942-2669.

“We have received numerous calls and emails from business owners and residents with very valid questions and concerns,” said Consumer Protection Director Michael Bannon. “Residents who believe that a business is not in compliance with closing can make a report via consumerprotection@buckscounty.org or call the above number."

Bannon asked that the business’s name, address and phone number be provided, if possible.

“We have been contacting and documenting those businesses suspected to be in violation,” Bannon said. “So far, businesses located in Bucks County have been overwhelmingly compliant to the best of their ability and we are thankful to them.”

Wolf issued the order on Thursday, giving such businesses until 8 p.m. Thursday to close, and threatening enforcement action for non-compliance at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

Gov. Wolf’s order is here. A list of life-sustaining businesses is here.

The governor earlier had ordered enforcement actions for restaurants and bars that continued to allow dine-in services, setting a deadline of 8 p.m. Wednesday for establishments with liquor licenses and 8 p.m. Thursday for food establishments. Carry-out, delivery and drive-through beverage service is permitted, including for alcohol. wolf non-life-sustaining

Wolf said that he is exercising the extraordinary powers given him under the Emergency Management Services Code during a declaration of disaster emergency. He directed the following state agencies and local officials to enforce the closure orders “to the full extent of the law”:

  • PA Liquor Control Board
  • PA Department of Health
  • PA Department of Agriculture
  • PA State Police
  • Local officials, using their resources to enforce closure orders within their jurisdiction

Bucks County officials are continuing to discuss the possible methods and degrees of enforcement to enforce the governor’s order, as well as the available resources for doing so.

Penalties can include forfeiture of the ability of private businesses, local organizations and other noncompliant entities to receive disaster relief, termination of state loan or grant funding, and suspension or revocation of licensure, as well as prosecution for failure to comply with health laws, subject to fines or imprisonment.

The Wolf administration said questions on whether a business must close can be emailed to ra-dcedcs@pa.gov.

Anyone seeking a waiver or expemption to the closure order can email RA-dcexemption@pa.gov.