Schuylkill County Thumbs Nose at Wolf – Going Yellow on May 15
Perhaps buoyed by neighboring counties, Schuylkill County officials now say we’re going to Phase Yellow of the state’s coronavirus re-opening plan on May 15.
We’re not going at this alone. In the last 24 hours, the following counties announced plans to go to Yellow on their own on May 15:
Add Schuylkill to the list now. We’re all in this together, right?
Schuylkill County Says We’re Going Phase Yellow on May 15
Presuming this happens, we’ll be going to Phase Yellow of the coronavirus reopening in less than a week. This goes against Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to keep Schuylkill County (and the others listed above) in Phase Red of the reopening plan.
On Friday, the Schuylkill County coronavirus task force sent a letter to Wolf asking him to change our phase. After we announced our request, several counties — Lebanon, we believe, first among them — upped the ante and said they were going to Phase Yellow despite what Wolf said.
— Coal Region Canary (@HardCoalCanary) May 9, 2020
SHTF Moment in Pennsylvania Coronavirus Response
A group of 6 Schuylkill County elected officials signed the letter sent to Gov. Wolf on Saturday.
It reads as follows:
Dear Governor Wolf:
As elected officials of Schuylkill County, this letter serves to inform you of our intention to move from the Red Phase to the Yellow Phase of your COVID- 19 Phased Reopening Plan, effective May 15, 2020.
Schuylkill County has met the requirement of your original Stay-at-Home Order, which was to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak and allow hospitals the time to gear up for COVID-19 patients being admitted to the ICU and in need of ventilators. 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. Both PPE supply and the availability of COVID-19 tests have increased since mid-March. These factors have provided our local healthcare facilities with the confidence to address any upcoming concerns as Schuylkill County moves to the Yellow Phase.
We, as elected officials, have a vested interest in keeping our community safe and free from disease, and not over-burdening the health care facilities in the county. We have heard the pleas of our residents who desire the ability to safely re-open their businesses and safely return to work. Schuylkill County plans to move forward and will require businesses who are ready to re-open to follow CDC guidelines including requirements such as hand washing, social distancing, and masks until further guidance is received for the county to move to the Green Phase.
The letter is signed by the following elected officials:
- State Sen. Dave Argall
- State Rep. Jerry Knowles
- State Rep. Mike Tobash
- George Halcovage, Schuylkill County Commissioner
- Gary Hess, Schuylkill County Commissioner
- Barron Hetherington, Schuylkill County Commissioner
Here’s a copy of the full letter we received from Knowles on Saturday afternoon:0586_001
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