The head of Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce blasted Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest business shutdown orders in a statement released on Friday.
“These restrictions at any time would have serious economic consequences, but will be devastating to many this holiday season,” says Robert S. Carl, president and CEO of Schuylkill Chamber. “The holiday season is one that many businesses count on every year for their business health and survival, along with nonprofits that are unable to host fundraising events this holiday season, after having to cancel many, if not all, during 2020.”
Head of Schuylkill Chamber Blasts Governor’s Business Shutdown Orders
Carl doesn’t hold much back when criticizing Wolf and his out-of-touch policies responding to the coronavirus pandemic. He says he should be working with the General Assembly in Harrisburg rather than acting unilaterally.
“It is very disappointing that the collaboration and partnership that should be occurring with the PA State Legislature and advocacy organizations like the PA Chamber of Business & Industry, are not engaged by the Governor in making these decisions,” Carl says. “The economic concerns and survivals of businesses and nonprofits in this pandemic are of tremendous concern. When the Governor was given the opportunity to support the business community with Liability Protection, passed by the PA Senate and House, he vetoed the measure, in H.B. 1737.”
Wolf’s shutdown orders issued this week appear to place blame for the COVID virus spreading on small businesses in certain industries. Why else would the governor target these businesses as he has?
Restaurants can’t serve seated customers indoors under his order. Gyms and fitness centers must lock up. And any entertainment venue must close their doors to customers, too. All this comes just 2 weeks prior to Christmas, traditionally a very busy time of year for these and other establishments.
Carl says targeting these businesses with shutdown orders is unfair as it’s often these small businesses that do the most to adapt to conditions and do what they can to keep customers safe.
“The Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce continues to believe that our businesses and nonprofits are the very best, and are adhering to all CDC Guidelines, masking and social distancing. The business community understand best that only by “doing the right thing” will they survive, as their clients and customers provide the judgement,” Carl says. “These targeted mitigations, may not have the scientific backing to support them, while other areas are left unenforced. Measures already in place need more education and enforcement. Punitive measures in targeted areas, lacking Pennsylvania scientific evidence will always be viewed as extremely punitive to those industry areas.”
And what he says is true.
According to the Governor’s own data – data or science he claims to swear by – just 1.5% of Pennsylvanians who’ve tested positive for COVID since mid-July say they’ve visited a restaurant in the 2 weeks prior to their positive test result. The number is even smaller for other businesses like gyms and bars. Yet, he chose to target these businesses anyway.
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