Lancaster County reopening plan creates division among officials

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — 13 Republican federal, state, and county elected officials say they are moving forward with a plan to reopen part of Lancaster County on Friday.

A letter sent to Governor Tom Wolf says the county plans to move to the ‘yellow phase’ of the governor’s reopening plan.

Lancaster County Commissioner Josh Parsons is leading the charge to reopen part of the county’s economy ahead of schedule.

“This is a disaster,” Parsons said. “We need a way out of it and the governor has not been providing a way out of it. We’re trying to provide a rational course for it.”

The letter said the county is ready to move forward because hospitals have not been overwhelmed by coronavirus patients.

Parsons also noted they have an extensive plan to help long-term care facilities. “We can address the health issues and we can address getting back to work in a safe and prudent way.”

Commissioner Craig Lehman, who did not sign the letter, argues the county still needs more coronavirus testing and contact tracing to more towards reopening.

“Absent those tools being in place, any date that is selected has no public health basis and is completely arbitrary,” Lehman said.

Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace agreed with Lehman’s sentiments. Sorace said the city doesn’t agree with any plan that goes against the governor’s order.

“We need to demonstrate that we can do this in such a way that our businesses have confidence they will be able to remain open,” she said. “And that our employees are confident to return to work and that consumers are confident to go out again. Right now we’re not in that place.”

District Attorney Heather Adams said she will not cite or prosecute those who violate the governor’s order for reopening.

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