(HARRISBURG) – Senators Robert Tomlinson and Robert Mensch have introduced legislation (Senate Bill 1165) that would allow County Commissioners together with their County Departments of Health to develop and implement plans to reopen.
This legislation is a commonsense proposal that will allow counties across the Commonwealth to work with their local or locally contracted Departments of Health to create a safe, responsible plan that will allow their local economy to restart. This proposal will empower local governments to work with their county medical experts to interpret their own data, rather than waiting for Harrisburg to make the decision for them.
“We drafted this legislation after hearing the countless stories of business owners who are on the verge of losing everything and stories from unemployed workers who haven’t received a dime from unemployment,” Senator Tomlinson said. “We have been shut down for months and there is no end in sight. Every reasonable request has been denied and every piece of legislation that would reopen businesses, even those with bipartisan support, have been vetoed. I have full faith that business owners across Pennsylvania can operate their business in a safe manner following CDC guidelines and proper social distancing protocols.”
“Since the beginning of the shutdown of counties due to COVID-19, my office has heard about the struggles and concerns from constituents throughout the district,” Senator Mensch said. “From families who need money to just put food on the table, to business owners who are concerned that if they do not reopen soon, their business will have to shut down for good. The citizens of this Commonwealth are responsible, and will continue to live their daily lives following CDC guidelines to protect people’s livelihoods. With this, business owners are responsible as well, and we know that they will operate while taking into utmost consideration the health and safety of their employees and customers.”
Senators Tomlinson and Mensch both agree that counties with their own Departments of Health, such as Bucks and Montgomery, are more than capable of determining how and when the county should reopen. These counties have implemented several procedures such as contact tracing that show community spread of COVID-19 have significantly reduced. According to a press release issued from Bucks County, “Based on our extensive data collection, I believe that Bucks County is ready to move to the yellow phase,” said Dr. David Damsker, director of the health department. “We hope that Gov. Wolf and Health Secretary Levine also see it the same way very soon.” This reasonable legislation will allow more local governments to make their own decisions with the support of their local medical experts.
Ryan Skoczylas (Senator Tomlinson: 215 638 1784)