Wolf: No Timetable for Reopening Pennsylvania’s Economy; Approach Will Be Driven by Data

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – On Friday, Governor Tom Wolf presented a general plan for Pennsylvania relaxing its COVID-19 related restrictions but wasn’t able to provide a specific timetable as to when it may happen.

Wolf did not set a goal date to reopen the Commonwealth, unlike some states like Ohio, which set a May 1 goal, during his address and noted the administration will be continuing to look at data moving forward before making any further decisions.

“Next week, I will be outlining more specific steps on the reopening process as we work with experts in public health agencies and stakeholders to determine how to safely reopen our economy,” Wolf said. “There isn’t going to be one big day.”

Wolf went on to say his administration will continue to work with economic and public health experts to determine the metrics used for safe reopening by taking a regional, sector-based approach.

Wolf outlined key criteria in six major points of his plan:

  • Taking a “data-driven approach” relying on “quantifiable criteria” to make decisions on reopening.
  • Putting forth guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and healthcare facilities. Wolf said these recommendations would assure accountability as the state reopens.
  • Making certain adequate personal protective equipment and testing are available.
  • Creating a monitoring and surveillance program to allow the Commonwealth to deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation, if necessary.
  • Ensure protections for vulnerable populations throughout the reopening process, including limitations on visitors to care facilities and prisons.
  • Continued limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations.

The statewide stay at home order in Pennsylvania went into effect April 1. The first mitigation orders were initially put into place on March 23 in seven counties, and non-life sustaining businesses, as defined by the Wolf administration, have been closed for a month. Schools were closed March 13.

“I asked for you to close schools and businesses, cancel large events, stay at home, all in an effort to simply keep our friends, our neighbors, our families, our coworkers, alive,” Wolf said. “I will be forever grateful for your courage, compassion, and speed. Despite uncertainty, Pennsylvanians acted collectively, not because of any order, but because we care deeply for each other. Now I am asking again for you to believe in our Commonwealth.”

The Governor’s Plan for Pennsylvania can be read in its entirety here.

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