By Rep. Jerry Knowles – 124th District
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, I will always be concerned about the health of our citizens, our businesses and the jobs they provide to the residents of our Commonwealth, especially at this time of year. That is why it is particularly distressing that additional mitigation orders were announced recently by Gov. Tom Wolf. I take the virus very seriously. At all times, I follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and articulate that message to my constituents.
The governor continues to destroy the restaurant and bar industry. His latest order states that no indoor dining at bars, restaurants, clubs, distilleries and catered events will be permitted. Only takeout and delivery are allowed. The order will remain in effect until 8 a.m. Jan. 4, 2021.
How are the owners of these establishments and employees expected to make a living, governor? The answer is they cannot, and you are responsible for their demise. SHAME ON YOU!
This is an industry that values safety. According to the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association (PRLA), there is no conclusive data showing that restaurants cannot operate safely when exercising CDC protocols. The PRLA is calling on the governor to reverse his decision in light of New York State’s contact tracing data showing restaurants account for only 1.4% of COVID-19 cases while 73.84% of COVID cases were spread at private gatherings.
According to the governor’s own data – data or science he claims to swear by – just 1.5% of Pennsylvanians who have tested positive for COVID-19 since mid-July say they have visited a restaurant in the two weeks prior to their positive test result. The number is even smaller for other businesses like gyms and bars. Yet, the governor has chosen to target these businesses anyway.
These restrictions at any time would have serious economic consequences but will be devasting to many this holiday season. It is this time of year that many businesses count on for their businesses’ health and survival. Restaurants and bars are struggling to say the least! To shut them down during their busiest time of year is unconscionable.
The governor holds licensing over these businesses’ heads, but he has learned very little from the nine months of his absolute control over our lives. He has said on numerous occasions that it’s the federal government’s responsibility to feed you and fund your rent or mortgage. But guess what? The federal government is not able to do it. Instead of working with these industries, he begs to the federal government for help.
I do not support the restrictions the governor has enacted for the restaurant and bar industry. I fear that he has caused it permanent damage from which many local establishments will never recover.
Representative Jerry Knowles
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rick Leiner