May 8, 2020


LEBANON, PENNSYLVANIA – Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf announced her Office will not prosecute or pursue legal action against any local business that wished to reopen. Open businesses must comply with the restrictions set forth in the April 15th Order issued by Dr. Rachel Levine.

On May 7th, Governor Wolf announced Lebanon County will remain under his ‘Stay at Home’ Order until at least early June. This meant the continued closure of local business, and the further decimation of our community’s livelihood. Within minutes, my Office received emails and messages from concerned citizens.

Members of our community expressed sadness, fear, and outrage at their inability to reopen businesses and return to work. People explained the very real likelihood of mortgage foreclosure and bankruptcy if unable to earn a living. Put simply, our community is on the verge of dire economic circumstances with permanent consequences.

Through mandates and Orders, Governor Wolf assumed control of an individual’s personal choices. He dictates how we dress, where we go, and what commerce operates for our ‘well-being.’ Effectively the Governor’s Orders revoked our personal freedoms and liberties as individuals. The essential question is how do we as a society weigh the need for the economic success of those around us against the community’s ability to remain safe.

The Lebanon County District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute or pursue legal action against any business which reopens, so long as the business complies with the mandates set forth in the Administration’s 4-15-20 Order. This Order dictated how approved business must conduct themselves, and included directives of no more than ten (10) people within an area, the use of personal protective equipment, and social distancing of six (6) feet or more. Any local business which complies with these mandates may open without fear of criminal consequences or liability. Any allegations of a business’ failure to comply will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Our Office consulted with local law enforcement on our stance. We received overwhelming support from both the individual Chiefs of Police and their local township officials.

“Whether a business opens, and whether an individual feels safely enough in his surroundings to patronize the business, are questions our citizens must answer for themselves. Law enforcement exists to protect and serve our communities; we do not exist to enforce arbitrary regulations which rip away a roof over a family’s head or food in a child’s mouth. Our police officers have tough enough jobs without the added duty of persecuting local small business,” DA Hess Graf said.

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