Local Government Officials React to Green Phase Exclusion
Erie County to remain in Yellow Phase next week as more populous counties go Green
Erie County, which has throughout the COVID-19 pandemic been an exemplar of "flattening the curve," has in recent weeks trended in the wrong direction. Since May 11, its cumulative case rate has more than doubled, and the first county of our size to move from the Red Phase to Yellow Phase of reopening will now be one of the last to go Green.
On next Friday (June 5), 16 additional counties will join the 17 counties that went Green today for a total of 33. Populous Pittsburgh-area counties like Allegheny and Washington are on that list; Erie is not. Naturally, this has evoked a strong response from the community and our leaders. Here is what they had to say.
Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper:
"Trust me when I say that I understand that everyone feels very strongly about Erie County not being on the list of counties going to Green next Friday, and I do too. Unfortunately, our cases in Erie County continue to rise and have consistently risen in the past few weeks. And for this reason, the state informed me earlier today, that they determined that we were not ready to go Green. I, however, do feel that Erie County is ready. I do respect the authorities making these decisions and I understand that it's up to all of us – as I've said all along – to make this happen, the going to Green."
State Representative Ryan Bizarro:
"I'm calling on the governor to reconsider his decision, which I believe is the wrong move for our county. Erie residents are responsible, resourceful and careful. Our business owners understand how to keep residents safe, and our community is aware of social distancing and other safety protocols. They want to get back to supporting our community and our local economy. It's time to get Erie County back to work, responsibly and safely."
State Representative Pat Harkins:
"Our residents have been patient and have worked responsibly to flatten the curve. Now, we are ready to support our local businesses, work together to restore our local economy, and return our Erie community to the vibrant place it has always been."
State Representative Bob Merski:
"I am extremely disappointed in the governor's decision to keep Erie County in the yellow, restricted phase. Although our county saw a brief spike last week, the numbers have stabilized, and we are ready for the next steps in reopening. I have been fighting for our county to move into the green phase because I'm convinced that our residents are able to do the right thing. Erie County residents have been doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks and social distancing, and will continue that responsible behavior in the weeks to come. We have done what was asked of us. It's time to let Erie open all of its doors."
State Senator Dan Laughlin
"I was totally surprised to learn from the Governor's Press Conference that Erie County will not be moving to the 'green' phase of reopening. I plan to talk with Health Secretary Rachel Levine over the weekend to ask exactly what metrics are being used to make these decisions. I want specifics from the Governor's Administration on why Erie County remains 'yellow."