LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. — A roofing contractor received the Pennsylvania State Police’s first citation issued for a business violating the state’s non-essential closure order.
According to the police report, officers responded around 8 a.m. on April 23 to numerous anonymous complaints about Middle Creek Roofing in Lebanon County being out of compliance with COVID-19 business closure orders.
While investigating the complaints at the contractor’s offices, police discovered the business was holding a training meeting. The meeting involved nine individuals — seven employees, the owner, and a trainer who was brought in from out-of-state. Police said that none of the individuals were wearing personal protective equipment and were “in close proximity to one another.”
The report states employees had voiced their concerns to the owner about their health after a similar training session had occurred the previous day.
When police investigated further, the learned the roofing contractor received a warning about staying in compliance on April 20 by the Pennsylvania State Police, and again on April 22 by the Millcreek Township Police Department.
Middle Creek Roofing received a citation for violating Pennsylvania’s Stay at Home order. According to PennLive.com, the state issued 279 warnings as of April 23 to businesses, but this was the first citation issued. Middle Creek Roofing owner Ben Lapp told PennLive that he had a letter from the governor showing his business was exempt in order to complete items like emergency repairs at jobsites; however the letter didn't specifically include exemptions for training.
Put in place on March 19, Pennsylvania’s Stay at Home order has some of the strictest limitations on the construction industry when compared to other states. The order only allows for “life-sustaining business activities” and ordered the closure of in-person business operations that aren’t critical to sustaining life in a pandemic.
On April 23, the state government announced the construction industry can resume operations as of May 1, including those in new construction, renovation, and repair. However, according to guidance issued by the government, they must adhere to safety precautions to protect workers and the public from spreading COVID-19.
Middle Creek Roofing's website states they are full-service "Amish roofers who pride ourselves on the values of honesty, integrity, and hard work - delivered with attention to detail & professionalism."