A woman in Pennsylvania became the possibly first person in the state to be fined for violating the state’s stay-at-home order that is intended to curb the spread of the CCP virus, prompting questions about whether it’s a legitimate reason.
Anita Shaffer, 19, was pulled over by Pennsylvania State Police troopers at around 7 p.m. on March 29 in Red Lion, located near Harrisburg. She was issued a summary violation for violating Pennsylvania’s Disease Control and Prevention Act of 1955, according to state police.
She was stopped by state police at Boundary Avenue and South Franklin Street in Red Lion, reported the York Dispatch, citing a police citation. State police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski said Friday that she was pulled over initially for a vehicle code violation.
“In other words, she was not pulled over for violating (the stay-at-home order),” he said, reported the paper. The citation said that she was fined $225 for violating Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order, which was issued for York County on March 27 before Wolf extended a statewide order April 1.
The citation said that Shaffer “failed to abide by the order of the governor and secretary of health issued to control the spread of a communicable disease, requiring the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses as of 20:00 hours on March 19, 2020.”
It added: “To wit, defendant states that she was ‘going for a drive’ after this violation was in effect.”
A spokesman for state troopers added to the Dispatch that two warnings and no citations have been issued other than the one that was given to Shaffer.
☑️ We are not conducting #COVID19 checkpoints.
☑️ We do encourage all Pennsylvanians to stay at home, except for essentials like 🏢, 🛒, 🏨.
☑️ We will continue to be a source of reassurance and safety in the midst of crisis situations. pic.twitter.com/JZ4TJDEHyQ
— Troopers Steve Limani & Cliff Greenfield (@PSPTroopAPIO) April 1, 2020
“At this time, law enforcement is focused on ensuring that residents are aware of the order and informing the public of social distancing practices,” Tarkowski said. “While the order is mandatory, voluntary compliance is preferred.”
Shaffer told PennLive she was told she was initially pulled over for a taillight that was out. Then she was asked if she was aware of the “stay-at-home act” by an officer.
“I am aware of it but I didn’t know it pertained to just driving,” she recalled telling the officer.
The citation prompted state troopers in Pennsylvania to clarify that COVID-19 checkpoints are not being carried out across the state.
Wolf extended the stay-at-home order on April 1 to the whole of Pennsylvania. Two days later, on April 3, he called on residents to wear face masks when going out in protection in an attempt to curb the spread of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, a novel coronavirus that first emerged in mainland China which cases COVID-19.
“Wearing a mask will help us cut down the possibility that we might be infecting an innocent bystander, like that grocery store cashier, the pharmacist, or someone stocking shelves,” Wolf said during a video news conference, via WPVI. “These folks are keeping us alive by getting us the supplies we need. We owe it to them to do everything we can to keep them safe. Right now, that means wearing a mask.”