Jeff Haste, Pennsylvania’s Dauphin County Board chairman, slammed Gov. Tom Wolf (D) in a letter on Friday for keeping a bulk of businesses closed, particularly in his county, and bluntly called on Wolf to “return our state to the people (as prescribed by our Constitution) and not run it as a dictatorship.”
Twenty-four counties — Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren — moved to the “yellow” phase of reopening on Friday. The “yellow” phase, while still restrictive, allows limited nonessential retail operations but keeps a restaurant’s dine-in services, as well as salons and fitness centers, closed.
While the state closed to “minimize the 54,238 positive cases, more than 1,793,200 Pennsylvanians have lost their jobs,” Haste wrote in the letter.
“This decision has ruined the livelihood of millions of hard-working Pennsylvanians in exchange for 0.4 percent of our population,” he continued.
He expressed “great sympathy for those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19” but added that he holds “great concern for the families that now have to struggle with financial concerns, mental health stress, addiction and more because of the shutdown.”
“Again, our governor has pitted groups of Pennsylvanians against one another,” he continued.
“For centuries, our people and businesses have shown they can adapt to changes to survive and prosper,” he said. “They cannot, however, do a thing when a dictator and an unelected secretary place them in lockdown.”
I trust and have faith in the great people and businesses of Pennsylvania to operate in a manner that protects those of our population in harm’s way and allows our residents to go back to work, enjoy their communities, and have a quality of life. I, however, have no faith in Gov. Wolf and Secretary Levine’s ability to do the right thing,
“Open the state and return our Commonwealth to the people,” he added. “Enough is enough.”
Wolf on Friday said 13 additional counties will be able to move to the “yellow” phase of reopening next week, but Dauphin County was not included. Similarly, Pennsylvania’s Beaver County Commissioner Chairman Dan Camp ripped the governor on Friday for refusing to allow the county to move into the next phase of reopening alongside its neighboring counties.
“The governor’s double-talk means that Beaver County finds itself singled-out as the only Western Pennsylvania county in his administration’s red category, surrounded by a sea of yellow counties,” he said on Friday.
“Our business owners and residents cannot become prisoners of our county because of this unwarranted double-talk,” he continued, stating that the Board of Commissioners will “stand behind our District Attorney in his decision not to prosecute any case against a business that chooses to open following the mandated guidelines as laid out in the yellow phase of reopening PA.”
Wolf’s stay-at-home order, which extends to counties that remain in the “red” phase, has been extended to June 4.