Where are the sanctions? People in several local counties frustrated as they wait for possible changes because of COVID-19 spread

Frustration building in several counties as they wait for possible sanctions over COVID-19 spread

There is renewed frustration in several local counties after businesses in the region were told that they were going to face sanctions from the Pa. Department of Health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The uncertainty is weighing on people and their pocketbooks. One restaurant owner said he felt “singled out” by being in limbo.

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“Our businesses are fighting to survive,” said Washington County commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan.

On Tuesday, multiple sources in Westmoreland, Washington, Butler and Beaver counties all told Channel 11 that Gov. Tom Wolf’s office was prepared to issue sanctions the next day -- potentially shutting down indoor dining and inside alcohol sales at bars and restaurants.

Each county said they received a call from Wolf’s office that coronavirus data was being reviewed and they might hear something Wednesday. However, that announcement from the governor never came; Wolf is still reviewing data to determine if his office will pass sanctions.

In response to the rising numbers in Allegheny County, health officials announced Wednesday that bars and restaurants will remain closed for two more weeks, but outdoor dining will be allowed until 11 p.m. with a three-drink limit.

Westmoreland County Rep. Eric Nelson said it’s not a fair way to represent the people of Pa.

When asked about the possible sanctions, the state health department said it is “prepared to take action as necessary.”

As of Friday afternoon, officials still had not provided a timeline. Channel 11′s Amy Hudak confirmed with officials that Westmoreland and Washington counties are both still under review by the state.

An announcement regarding possible sanctions is not expected this weekend.

Allegheny Co. officials hope modified order will stop surge in COVID-19 cases