CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WHSM) -- A non-essential business in Chicopee was busted Thursday for illegally operating during the coronavirus pandemic.
A story exclusive to Western Mass News, the signs on the doors of the Flea Market in Chicopee say they are closed because of the coronavirus, but police said they have been letting people in to illegally shop.
“This is no joke. This is not a game,” Officer Michael Wilk said.
Western Mass News has been following developments in Chicopee where police are cracking down on people not complying with safety guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.
Western Mass News cameras were rolling when Chicopee Police put their warnings into practice.
“We got a tip that the Flea Market here on Chicopee Street has been operating. We did receive several tips throughout the week, our compliance officers came down and found the building locked,” Wilk said.
Wilk told Western Mass News that although the building appears locked, officers found shoppers still going in.
“Apparently if you went to the back door and knocked, they would let you in to purchase things. They discovered people inside shopping and people outside waiting to shop,” Wilk said.
Wilk said the discovery is disheartening to the community.
“This is clearly in violation of the guidelines. This is not an essential business. It puts a lot of people at risk,” he said.
The Flea Market has signs on its doors saying they are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Wilk says it's shocking that those same doors were used to illegally let people in.
“The frustration level is high. This is a place where people should not be gathering, and the fact that they’re allowing people in whether by appointment or if you had time -- it’s not an essential business. This is another issue that causes people to possibly become infected and become sick,” Wilk said.
Police have issued cease and desist orders and are looking at possible fines. Meanwhile, they ask if anyone has any information about guidelines not being followed to call the police.