Governor’s Order Allows Rural PA Counties to Return to Work

Harrisburg – Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25) today said he is encouraged by the news that some COVID-19 restrictions will be loosened for northwestern and northcentral Pennsylvania counties.

On May 8, counties in the 25th Senatorial District and the region will move from the Wolf Administration’s “red phase” restrictions to “yellow phase,” following today’s announcement by Gov. Tom Wolf.

“This is a positive development for our citizens who need to return to their jobs and for businesses who are key to the economic well-being of our communities,” Scarnati said. “This announcement is welcomed, but overdue. As I said before, it was a mistake for the administration to treat every Pennsylvania community the same when it came to these restrictions. Brookville is not Manhattan. Emporium is not Philadelphia.”

Scarnati noted that as long as Pennsylvania citizens are being kept from their jobs, lawmakers must continue to pressure Governor Wolf to loosen restrictions in more counties.

On Monday, the Senate Local Government Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee will hold a joint public hearing on the administration’s plan for reopening the commonwealth.

On April 15, the Senate approved Senate Bill 613 to allow certain businesses in the state to reopen if they followed guidance from state and federal health experts. Governor Wolf vetoed that legislation, adding another layer of uncertainty for job-creators and workers throughout the state.

The same day, the Senate also approved Senate Bill 327 with an amendment sponsored by Senator Scarnati allowing for the safe reopening of Pennsylvania through local decision making. The local empowerment provision was removed in the House of Representatives.

“Even though my amendment was removed by House leadership, I remain committed to keeping the focus on our local communities, where citizens are desperate to return to work and receive a paycheck,” Scarnati said. “Today is a big win for rural communities in our region, but until every Pennsylvanian is back at their job and pursuing their dreams, we have to keep pressure on the governor to do the right thing.”

CONTACT: Carol Milligan cmilligan@pasen.gov (717) 701-1607