HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Although 24 counties started reopening in Pennsylvania on Friday, and a baker’s dozen is slated to join them next week, Gov. Wolf’s shutdown order remains on much of the state — which has left some Midstate officials tiffed.
Several officials have called on the governor to reopen counties and allow businesses to resume, despite previous warnings from the state Health Department that doing so would prove problematic.
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office does not plan to enforce Wolf’s order, stating it will “not be enforcing any “order” that violates our Constitutional Rights.”
“I have no intentions in turning local business owners into criminals,” Sheriff Ronny Anderson said.
York County lawmakers sent a letter to the governor asking that he reopen the county.
The letter cites that York County has met the metric of having fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 residents for 14 days and that local hospitals are well-equipped to handle current and future coronavirus cases.
“Based on the feedback we have received, York Countians are ready to move forward safely, intelligently and responsibly into the ‘yellow’ phase,” the letter reads.
The opposition of the shutdown reached its apex in Lebanon County, where officials are planning to reopen the county without sanctioned approval from the governor.
The collective of state Sen. Dave Arnold (R), state reps. Russ Diamond (R), Frank Ryan (R), and Sue Helm (R) and the office of the commissioners, district attorney, and coroner all signed a letter to Wolf anticipating moving Lebanon County to the yellow phase on May 15.
“The residents of our county have heeded your instructions to practice social distancing and other mitigation efforts, and as a result, our local healthcare facilities do not lack the capacity to effectively treat these patients going forward,” the letter read.
Dauphin County looks to follow Lebanon County’s lead. Commissioner Mike Pries said in a tweet on Friday that the county will also be reopening to the yellow phase on May 15, without the governor’s approval.
Dauphin County Board Chairman Jeff Haste voiced his frustrations earlier in the day in a letter addressed to the commonwealth. Haste calls for the reopening of the state and allowing businesses to operate again.
“Enough is enough. It is time to reopen the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and return our state to the people (as prescribed by our Constitution) and not run it as a dictatorship,” he writes.
He says “our governor has pitted groups of Pennsylvanians against one another” and that Wolf has not consulted county commissioners in this ongoing process.
The governor has yet to respond to these criticisms and planned reopenings.
The counties moving to the yellow phase next week include Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland.
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