The spirit of defiance is building in Pennsylvania, where some businesses are opening up regardless of what Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown orders say and some county leaders have telegraphed their intentions to disregard Wolf’s reopening timetable.
“I had to save my business,” Julie Potter of East Freedom, Pennsylvania, told WCAU.
Potter has operated the Tame Your Mane salon for 25 years. “I couldn’t let it end like that,” she said.
Customer John Black, 70, said that despite his past heart attack, he was willing to venture forth in the COVID-19 world for a haircut.
“You got to get on with your life and get the country opened up,” Black said. “As long as you watch what you’re doing.”’
Potter said customers have to wear face coverings and undergo temperature checks. Equipment and chairs are cleaned down often, she said.
At the Gorilla House Gym in Altoona, co-owner Ray Ross said he had waited all he was going to wait.
“We just decided to do it. We didn’t ask permission to do it. We just did it, and we’re going to keep doing it,” he told the Altoona Mirror. “Someone had to take a stand. Enough is enough.”
Wolf is easing restrictions in some parts of the state, but even that is being criticized as too little.
Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste wrote a letter protesting Wolf’s pace for reopening the state, according to PennLive.com.
“Data shows that COVID-19 is a critical issue in confined living areas and with our elderly and immunity-impaired populations. The general population can continue to work and function within the ‘new normal.’ Our businesses and citizens have learned this; however, the governor and his health secretary have not,” he wrote.
Lebanon County said that regardless of what Wolf wants, it is moving to “yellow” status from the current red as of next Friday.
Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries said his county is doing the same.
— Mike Pries (@PriesMike) May 8, 2020
“The residents of our county have heeded your instructions to practice social distancing and other mitigation efforts, and as a result, our local health care facilities do not lack the capacity to effectively treat these patients going forward,” Lebanon County said in its letter to Wolf. “Both PPE supply and the availability of COVID-19 tests have increased since mid-March. These factors have provided our local health care facilities with the confidence to address any upcoming concerns as Lebanon County moves to the yellow phase.”
“We, as the local elected officials, have a vested interest in keeping our community safe and free from disease, and not over-burdening the health care facilities in the county,” the letter said
“We have heard the pleas of our residents who desire the ability to safely reopen their businesses and safely return to work. Lebanon County plans to move forward and will require businesses who are ready to reopen to follow CDC guidelines including requirements such as hand washing, social distancing, and masks until further guidance is received for the county to move to the green phase.”
Wolf said Friday some counties are making a mistake by going too fast.
“I understand the frustration,” Wolf said.
“But again, the frustration has to be directed at the real enemy here. It’s the virus. It’s not the regulation. And anything we do to bring people together, whether it’s employees or customers or both, we’re making it easier for that virus to actually attack and infect people and we’re jeopardizing their health,” he said.
The governor said counties that move faster than he has ordained could be “jeopardizing lives” and added, “If they go ahead and do that they’re taking a chance, and I think I’d be a little careful in doing that.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.