It’s time people get back to work on a measured basis

“We’re destroying the economy of Pennsylvania right now.”

So said state Sen. Gene Yaw of Lycoming County on Friday.

His comments were echoed by state Reps. Garth Everett, whose district also includes the Jersey Shore area in western Lycoming County.

Let’s be clear, Gov. Tom Wolf has acted with great care for the people of Pennsylvania in dealing with this invisible killer: COVID-19.

His approach at the getgo was measured: Lockdowns and stay at home directives for people in those counties initially hit the hardest, then expanding the directive statewide as the virus spread.

Here we are — some 43 days since the first confirmed case in Pennsylvania — and the state’s curve is flattening.

So it’s time to allow more people to get back to work on a regionalized, measured basis.

In doing so, Gov. Wolf can bank on Pennsylvanians doing the right thing: Continuing to practice guidelines on how to stop the spread of the coronavirus while, at the same time, allowing businesspeople to take proper precautions and best practices while re-starting their incredibly strong work ethic.

Pennsylvanians can do it.

Businesses will find and build resources to undertake safeguards against the virus, protect their customers and help the state report any outbreaks.

Gov. Wolf issued the order to shut down businesses statewide based on guidance put out by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), an arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

The governor used CISA guidelines from early March and dismissed updated guidelines the agency issued on March 28.

It’s difficult to make sense of the types of businesses that have been allowed to continue while others performing similar work or selling similar products in regions with fewer cases of the virus have been ordered closed.

The sheer volume of people who have lost their jobs and the record numbers of unemployment claims illustrate the destruction of people’s lives as many business owners are on the verge of bankruptcy and dealing with poor mental health as a result, according to the lawmakers.

Our businesses will play a critical role in forging ahead in this war against COVID-19.

They will be on the front lines in dealing and stopping future threats.

We’ll repeat what we’ve already said in this space: The key to our long-term survival is held by our responsible citizens and our business community.

We need people to reopen their businesses on a regionalized bases — where the virus is not as prevalent — and in a safe and phased-in manner for any number of reasons.

Being able to produce the goods we need here on American soil is one reason.

Being able to pay the bills and put food on our tables are other reasons.

Both are important for our immediate and our long-term future.

At this point, we believe — as do many of our lawmakers — that the working class and the business community understand that there is now a new normal with new safety measures that everyone must follow religiously.

The frustration is building — among businesspeople and among thousands of Pennsylvanians who suddenly find themselves without paychecks.

The record unemployment created by the governor’s order is unsustainable.

He needs to understand that his prolonged cure can be worse than the disease.

We are heartened by Gov. Wolf’s announcement Friday that he intends to work with the Legislature on realistic steps to reopen the state with protections that we would expect people to be smart enough to follow.

It’s time to put our collective faith in our people to further step up and do the right thing … and more.


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