Senator Yudichak Announces UPDATE on COVID-19 Regional Enforcement Partnership in Luzerne County

Nanticoke, April 15, 2020 – One week ago, State Senator John Yudichak (I-Luzerne/Carbon), along with the Lower South Valley Council of Governments (LSVCOG) and Mountain Council of Governments (MCOG) announced the creation of the COVID-19 Regional Code Enforcement Partnership to ensure companies still operating under Governor Wolf’s life-sustaining protocols in Luzerne County are following state and federal COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

The COVID-19 Regional Code Enforcement Partnership’s purpose is to Inform, Enforce and Report. The LSVCOG and the MCOG have built regional inspection teams from their member communities that have coordinated random inspections of businesses in our region’s industrial parks. The COVID-19 Regional Code Enforcement Partnership is addressing the following:

  1. Inform companies they must implement COVID-19 Safety Guidelines and the guidelines from Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine’s Building and Safety Measures order.

    View full order here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-health-sec-signs-order-providing-building-safety-measures-to-combat-covid-19/

  2. Enforce all municipal code violations at company facilities. 
  3. Report any COVID-19 violations to federal and state authorities and establish an email address to accept complaints regarding COVID-19 Safety violations.

Today, Senator Yudichak updated the public on the results of the partnership and the progress it has made in just one week.

To date, a total of 293 concerns were submitted to the partnership website LuzerneCovid.com. There have been a total of 102 onsite visits performed by code enforcement teams from both the Lower South Valley Council of Governments and the Mountain Council of Governments.

“The COVID-19 Regional Code Enforcement Partnership immediately put inspectors in the field and made resources available to over a hundred local businesses and thousands of employees in our business parks to ensure safe working conditions and to promote social distancing practices that protect the public health of our communities,” said Senator John Yudichak.

“The Lower South Valley Council of Governments and the Mountain Council of Governments, with speed and precision, have coordinated a locally driven effort that empowers and encourages companies to execute comprehensive COVID-19 safety plans that will help us mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in Luzerne County.”

“We have been working hard and we have made close to 60 initial visits to facilities that fall under Secretary Dr. Levine’s order. We have received over 30 concerns from the website and we have followed up on all of them,” said Sam Guesto, Hanover Township Manager and LSVCOG. “We have also asked for and received safety guidelines and protocols from all the facilities that we have visited. All the businesses have been very receptive and very thankful that we came out, and we are going to continue to do follow-up visits to ensure guidelines are still being followed.”

“The partnership is working well. Our code enforcement officers are working hard and they have been vigilant during their onsite visits,” said Dan Guydish, MCOG. “We’ve been able to respond to concerns from the website and what we’ve discovered is that businesses are getting that this is a serious problem and in order to stop the spread of the virus, the COVID-19 safety guidelines must be strictly followed.”

“After yesterday our code enforcement officers have been to 28 plants and nine commercial buildings doing visits,” said Jim Montone, Chairman, Hazle Township Supervisors. “We haven’t had any push back at all, and plants are adhering to the safety guidelines. Some plants have even shut down for a day or two to do a complete cleaning and sanitization. The process has gone very well and our businesses have been more than willing to cooperate.”

Contact:

Brad Hurley (bhurley@pasen.gov)

Carly Simpson (csimpson@pasen.gov)