Public Health one step closer to levying fines against PCOR1 violators

Department of Public Health and Social Services (PNC file photo)

Public Health is one step closer to levying fines against those who violate PCOR1 restrictions.

The public expressed concerns not only about the proposal itself but the exceptions being made to fast-track its approval.

The first public hearing for the draft PCOR enforcement rules was held via Zoom this past Saturday.

There were 35 people in attendance, including Public Health employees.

Public Health spokesperson Janela Carrera told K57’s Patti Arroyo Monday morning that the comments ran the gamut.

Loading the player...

“Most of the comments were just concerns about the draft enforcement rules. Concerns about the application of it, concerns about how the enforcement aspect of it would be applied, concerns about people right now being unemployed, relying on unemployment aid, and then if they were to be fined, how that would impact residents, especially those who are unemployed and depending on the government for assistance at this time,” Carrera said.

Fines could range from about $100 to $1,000 for individuals and from $1,000 to $10,000 for businesses.

Carrera said some attendees weren’t so much concerned with the draft rules but with the governor’s executive order itself.

The governor’s recent executive order suspended some parts of the Triple A process to fast-track approval of the new measures.

There are those who worry that suspending parts of the process by executive order sets a dangerous precedent that could erode transparency and accountability in the government.

Carrera says the suspension of rules referenced in the executive order only applies to the current public health emergency.

“The executive order that she issued, in particular, speaks to the limitations of the ‘Triple A process’ with respect to the public health emergency, and not necessarily to just any type of policies or any other type of rule-making. And so when it comes to the concerns that have been raised by others in the community such as taxes or other types of potential laws or ordinances, I don’t think that’s where the intent was. I think really the intent was for this particular public health enforcement rule..that’s really the goal here,” Carrera said.

The second and final public hearing on the proposal will be held this Wednesday afternoon from 2 pm to 4 pm also via Zoom.