Screenshot taken from governor.pa.gov
Today, Gov. Tom Wolf outlined a plan
for reopening much of Pennsylvania. In a press conference, Wolf acknowledged that the commonwealth has the fifth highest amount of coronavirus cases among states but said, “We have not had the explosive growth of our neighboring states thanks to your sacrifices.”
Wolf said he is ready to start working with the state legislature on a plan to reopen the commonwealth, but asked that Pennsylvanians stay vigilant in continuing social distancing during this process. He didn’t announce any hard dates when he wanted the state to reopen, but said he would be announcing dates next week and that there wouldn’t be just “one big day.”
Wolf added that he wants the state to reopen in phases and by region.
As of today, Pennsylvania has seen 29,441 positive coronavirus cases
, including 1,706 new cases confirmed today. On April 1, Wolf called on a stay-at-home order for the entire state
, which followed several county orders that started on March 23, including Allegheny County
Before that, the governor ordered non-life-sustaining businesses to close across the state.
Earlier this week, state Republicans passed a bill that would order much of Pennsylvania to reopen in the near future. That bill received no votes from state Democrats, and Wolf said yesterday he will veto it.
He hinted his disagreement with the Republican effort and said, “Moving to reopen large swaths of our economy now is only going to prolong this crisis.”
Wolf said his plan to reopen
will be “data driven” and will put forth guidance for employers, ensure Personal Protective Equipment and testing are available, and maintain protections for the most vulnerable populations. He added that even through the opening process, large gatherings will still have limitations.
“Now I am asking again for you to believe in our commonwealth, and asking you to stay the course,” said Wolf.
These comments come the day after President Donald Trump laid out guidelines to reopen the country. Wolf said in the press conference that his administration has been laying out plans for weeks on his guidance to reopen Pennsylvania.
He said his priorities during the soon-to-come recovery effort include an increase of the minimum wage
up to $12 an hour, with a path to $15 an hour; workplace protections including no penalties or discrimination of employees if they isolate or quarantine related to COVID-19
; expanding paid-sick leave rules; an expansion of affordable and high-quality childcare; funding for education and active distance learning; expanding student loan forgiveness; and increase funding for business sectors hit particularly hard, like hospitality, childcare, and health care providers.
The full plan can be read here