Local Politicians Respond to Path to Reopening
State Representatives Merski and Harkins support Wolf initiative
Gov. Tom Wolf extended the statewide stay-at-home orders issued on April 1, to remain in place until May 8, as the economy starts to reopen.
Wolf announced that the state will now reopen online auto sales and limited construction activity will begin May 8.
State Rep. Bob Merski (D) praised Wolf's orders to start reopening.
In a statement, Merski said, "The governor's announcement today makes the health and safety of the public the priority. It removes a barrier for some workers while ensuring that they will be returning to safe work environments – solitary jobs or those that can be performed safely with masks and social distancing. It's the right decision to support our workers and get our economy back on track."
In accordance with the new legislation, non-life sustaining physical businesses will remain closed and all life-sustaining businesses and services will continue.
State Rep. Pat Harkins (D) also lauded Wolf's announcement, saying that it will bring some relief to workers and business owners.
"In the midst of this pandemic, our workers and small business owners understand the importance of staying safe, but they are also frustrated and believe that there are many jobs, such as construction jobs, that can be performed without increasing the risk of exposure," Harkins said in a statement.
Harkins, the Democratic chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee, continued,
"We have been pushing to persuade the governor to recognize this and reopen those jobs that will not endanger workers, and the governor has listened. After sharing their frustration, it's great to be able to share some good news."
He also said he has been working with local auto dealers to move online so they have a more sensible solution for allowing customers to shop locally for cars.
While hoping to help our economy to recover, Wolf still emphasized that Pennsylvanians wear masks when leaving the house for life-sustaining reasons.
This comes in relation to the recently signed legislation by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine which ensures social distancing and the requirement of masks in the workplace for essential workers.
Law enforcement will continue its focus on educating the community of these orders rather than harshly enforcing them as the transition continues.
To stay up to date on COVID-19 information, visit pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.