- The House passed legislation authored by Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming/Union), that would permit county leaders to move their counties to a “green plus” phase of business reopening, based on the specific circumstances in their counties.
“The major roadblock forcing counties to be unable to economically recover from the effects of COVID-19 has been the Governor’s Office and its arbitrary mandates,” said Everett. “Secretary of Health Rachel Levine admitted this week that our hospitals are ‘not challenged.’ So why are we continuing to present unfair challenges to our mom-and-pop businesses in rural and suburban Pennsylvania that are struggling to stay afloat?”
House Bill 2549
would empower local communities and decisionmakers who are on the ground and are more accessible to local businesses to relieve them of COVID-19 restrictions when able. Supporters of the legislation have criticized the lack of communication between the governor’s office, local officials, businesses and health officials when regulations are put into effect, oftentimes with short notice.
According to the legislation, a county would be allowed to pass a resolution designating them as being in the “green phase” of reopening after being in the “yellow phase” of reopening for at least 21 days.
“At the height of the outbreak in the spring, Pennsylvanians were told that our goal was to flatten the curve,” Everett added. “We have succeeded in doing that and we should not continue to move the goalposts to unrealistic expectations. Business owners are part of our communities as well and it is time they stop being bullied by the government when they are incredibly capable of taking care of their neighbors, who are their employees and customers. It’s time to give them the freedom to do so before it is too late, and their doors shut indefinitely.”
Everett’s bill is supported by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) that represents over 13,000 Pennsylvania small-business members.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
Representative Garth D. Everett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Haas