ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Sunday that individuals and businesses can be fined thousands of dollars for hosting gatherings or violating Governor Andrew Cuomo's PAUSE Executive Order.
Individuals violating the PAUSE order can be fined as a violation of New York State Health Law (PBH 12-B), which carries up to a $2,000 fine for a first-time violation, or up to a $5,000 fine for a second violation.
Poloncarz said Sunday that he's had people going out and checking the parks to deal with complaints of crowds, particularly at Chestnut Ridge Park, and that the county will take more steps if it needs to.
"If there are people ignoring the social distancing standards at parks, if they're using the shelter and there's 20 people there and kids running around, you should get a ticket because you're all at risk of spreading it, and who knows who gets it then?" Poloncarz said.
Scenarios where this could apply include gatherings of multiple people.
For businesses, violation of the PAUSE order is considered a willful violation of the New York State Health Law, which is considered a criminal misdemeanor. This is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 for a first time violation, and/or one year of imprisonment.
Any violations issued are done so by local law enforcement.
The following are the 10 points of the PAUSE Order, from the New York State Department of Health's website:
- Effective at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, all non-essential businesses statewide will be closed;
- Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time;
- Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced;
- When in public individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others;
- Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet;
- Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people;
- Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders;
- Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health;
- Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations; and
- Use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes.
For more information on the PAUSE order click here.
While these orders are being enforced by law enforcement, you can also report complaints of non-essential businesses or gatherings, by calling 1-833-789-0470, or by clicking here. If you're an employee reporting your employer, you can contact the Department of Labor by clicking here.