One business owner arrested
Attorney General Kathy Jennings, while stressing voluntary compliance, said enforcement actions are being taken in regard to the emergency declarations by Gov. John Carney.
“This is a tremendously difficult time for everyone, and the only path forward is for all of us to take this seriously as a community,” said Jennings. “These temporary restrictions are unprecedented, but they are necessary. Everyone’s job right now is to save lives. There is no alternative. And when people don’t take these orders seriously, we must step in.”
Jennings continued, “The overwhelming majority of Delawareans have heeded the governor’s calls to be diligent and to keep their communities safe. By obeying the emergency orders, you are saving the lives of your family, your friends and your neighbors. The message to those who ignore the Orders is simple: You are endangering people’s lives, including law enforcement officers, by forcing unnecessary interaction.”
Some of the enforcement actions to date have included:
- Several individuals have been cited for failure to obey an emergency order, including last week in Newark and elsewhere throughout the state.
- One unidentified business owner was arrested for failure to obey an emergency order was cited in his personal capacity for personal behavior. Separately, his business did not comply with the emergency directive and, after multiple police contacts, was issued a cease and desist order.
- The Department of Justice has received more than two dozen formal complaints regarding price gouging and has initiated communication with those businesses. The Consumer Protection Unit served a subpoena on the Great Valu at Adams Four related to price gouging allegations after the department’s initial letter went unanswered.
- Officers are enforcing the ban on travelers coming to Delaware from out-of-state and not quarantining. Delaware State Police operated a checkpoint on Naamans Road in Wilmington, inquiring about out-of-state drivers’ business in Delaware. Additional checkpoints were conducted throughout Sussex County.
- The Department of State has sent several warning letters to businesses, informing them that they will be shut down if their behavior does not change.
Failure to obey an emergency order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 to $500 and up to 6 months in prison per infraction. Additionally, persons or businesses who engage in price gouging activity face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per offense.
Delaware State Police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen, Jr. stated: ‘Our emphasis and goal in enforcing the orders, specifically in regards to the travel restrictions, is to achieve voluntary compliance through education and awareness. The health and well-being of our Troopers, as well as the community, will remain our top priority as we continue to serve and protect, during this unprecedented event.”
The DOJ also issued answers to frequently asked questions about the State of Emergency’s price gouging ban. Delawareans who wish to report price gouging should contact the DOJ’s Consumer Protection hotline at (800) 220-5424 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.