Tiffin Police Chief Fred Stevens offered a warning Saturday to local businesses not complying with Gov. Mike DeWine’s closure orders due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, stating that noncompliance is a “criminal charge of disobeying an enforcement official’s orders.”
“Folks, we are getting messages to our FB messenger and phone calls from others about a very FEW locations/businesses that are not complying with the Governor’s & Mayor’s proclamations/orders/regulations on specific businesses closures,” Stevens said in a statement.
Stevens explained that up until the emergency orders, it was a civil health department request and they were able to enforce it by “pulling your health certificate, etc.”
But now, since emergency orders and proclamations have gone into the place, Stevens said noncompliance could result in a criminal charge of disobeying an enforcement official’s orders, which is a misdemeanor of the second degree which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a maximum $750 fine.
“Please, TPD is asking you NOT to make us the ‘heavy’ in this,” Stevens said. “We have worked extremely hard to be a community oriented outreach department with our residents. We do not want to be in this position anymore than you and your business wants to be in it.”
Stevens included links to information on the novel coronavirus pandemic from Johns Hopkins University, stating that the goal here is to “LIMIT the spread as much as possible so we do not overwhelm the medical field.”
“So again, the men and women of TPD will do our part and maintain that social distance from you but we need your assistance in doing your part by not going to these places that are violating the orders to shut down,” Stevens said.
Stevens’ words of warning came just a day after Gov. DeWine himself warned businesses not complying with the orders.
“I am aware of businesses recklessly risking the lives of their employees and their employees’ families. Please do what is right,” Gov. DeWine said during a press conference on Friday. “I will err on the side of protecting people. No announcement today, but the bad behavior, the reckless behavior, must stop.”
DeWine has ordered the closure of restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms, public rec centers, senior citizen centers, senior day care centers, bowling alleys, barbershops, salons, tattoo parlors, and more.
Officials confirmed Friday that there are 169 confirmed cases in the state, spanning 28 counties with 39 hospitalizations. As of Friday afternoon, one death in the state, in Lucas County, has been confirmed to be the result of coronavirus.