Bradford County District Attorney Chad Salsman has announced that no citations will be given to Bradford County residents for not wearing face coverings, even under Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine’s new order that states that all Pennsylvanians must wear masks when they leave their homes.
In early May, Salsman declared that no Bradford County businesses staying open despite non-essential business closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be prosecuted.
After state officials announced last week that Levine’s order for masks to be worn anytime individuals leave their homes will come with no enforcement from law enforcement officials and instead be left in the hands of local level officials, businesses and residents to carry out, Salsman has said that “it is the policy of the District Attorney’s Office that no criminal citations will be prosecuted or enforced for people not wearing masks.”
“An order from the Secretary of Health is not a “law” that falls under the jurisdiction of the Crimes Code and will not be enforced as such,” Salsman stated.
Salsman did clarify that private businesses in the county do in fact have the authority to deny service to anyone not complying with the mask order and are permitted to order individuals to leave private property.
If a citizen asked to leave due to choosing not to wear a mask refuses to leave a private business after being ordered to do so by the business, the individual could receive a citation for trespass, Salsman explained, noted that his office would “review those citations on a case-by-case basis.”
“If a private business chooses to welcome all customers regardless of whether the customers wear masks or not, my office will not intervene,” Salsman continued. “Businesses, of course, remain subject to potential civil consequences by the Governor’s administration if they choose to ignore the order of the Secretary of Health.”