Lycoming County DA stresses he won’t prosecute businesses that stay open over the holidays

Lycoming County District Attorney Ryan Gardner. FILE PHOTO

Businesses that choose to open their doors, despite Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent December restrictions, won’t need to worry about being prosecuted by the Lycoming County District Attorney. 

“I previously stated that the District Attorney’s Office communicated to Law Enforcement that this office does not condone the investigation or prosecution of the Governor’s orders regarding the mandatory closure of various small businesses,” said District Attorney Ryan Gardner. 

Garnder has been consistent with his refusal to enforce the governor’s restrictions, first stating in May that he would not prosecute businesses. 

In response to the surge of recent cases, and Wolf’s new round of restriction on restaurants, bars, fitness centers and entertainment venues, Gardner said he would be “remiss if I failed to reiterate my position with respect to the prosecution of businesses.”

In short, Gardner said these issues don’t rise to the level of criminality. 

Gardner added a caution for businesses who choose to reopen the doors beyond the governor’s allotment. 

“Business owners choosing to open must be mindful of the Governor’s ability to impose civil consequences that include the revocation of licenses, the imposition of fines and the ability to scrutinize state mandated insurance policies” Gardner said. 

District Attorney’s in Clinton, Lancaster and Bradford counties have also said they will not prosecute businesses over the past year. 


  • Anne Reiner has been a journalist for over eight years. She lives in Lycoming County and founded On the PULSE to create a new and engaging way to bring local news to the region of Northcentral, Pennsylvania.

On the PULSE

On the PULSE is an online media outlet in Northcentral, Pennsylvania. We specialize in in-depth journalism, human interest content and video features. Our mission is to build engagement in community through local news.

  1. How can he hold an office of official prosecutor and then refuse to prosecute violations of the law? This opens up appeal justification for anyone that commits crimes of state regulations. As a small business owner myself who lost 70% of my annual business, I know this cuts into everyone’s pocket, but breaking the law isn’t the answer. And to have a DA who’s too gutless to do his job because he wants to keep the votes come reelection is ridiculous.

  2. I am not a small business owner and I was just saying to my wife yesterday that my heart absolutely bleeds for you guys and your families and any family tradition that may be attached to a family business so I in no way am trying to be disrespectful to anyone but I think the governor just shutting down weeks before the holidays and driving the final nail into the coffin of many small businesses a slap in the face .Has he spoke at all about some kind of relief or help for these businesses to recover? I don’t find the prosecutor decision to not prosecute these cases disturbing or a way to get votes he has clearly laid out what Wolfs repercussions may be if they decide to stay open .I see one man refusing to stand in the way of another man or woman trying to feed their families..Best of luck and prayers to all of the small businesses and their families cause with out the small business America wouldn’t be very American

  3. Shame on you Mr. Gardner. This is a fool’s errand. People are irresponsible and need to be protected from themselves and each other. That is up to you to remedy. Stop being a fascist!