Construction in Pa. can begin before state reopens, Wolf says
Construction in Legacy Park in Mechanicsburg has been halted due to coronavirus fears. April 1, 2020. Joe Hermitt | firstname.lastname@example.org
Original story from April 22:
Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that construction projects can restart before the state begins to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Wolf said that construction that was previously deemed non-essential can begin on May 1, even though his phased red, yellow, green plan to start lifting parts and eventually all of the statewide stay at home order on a county-by-county basis won’t begin until at least May 8.
“I want to emphasize that Pennsylvanians should take the guidance given to their communities and their businesses seriously,” Wolf said during a televised news conference.
“The more community committed to staying home and succeeds at suppressing the case count. The sooner, and faster restrictions can be eased.”
Critics of Wolf’s coronavirus pandemic response have focused on a few areas, but perhaps none more than his March orders to halt all construction unless it is for emergency repairs to a structure, is at a health care facility, or is being performed by a select number of companies that have been able to obtain a waiver.
There was no explanation given as to why May 1 was picked as the date.
On May 8, Wolf hopes to start an economic recovery by opening the north-central and northwest part of the state by moving it from the red stage, which all of Pa. is currently in and means the statewide stay at home order continues to be in effect, to the yellow stage, which would still limit gatherings to 25 people or less, continue to make restaurants fill curbside or delivery orders only, and require telework when possible while allowing for curbside and delivery retail operations to begin.
Numerous criteria will need to be met for that to happen, though, including a 14-day stretch where a region sees fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 residents, among other data points.
“I understand that not having definite dates for each of these pieces to fall into place is difficult, but we will continue to provide updates as regions move from phase to phase,” Wolf said.
“By using this measured, step by step rollout of reopening, we can continue to protect the lives of Pennsylvania’s, especially our most vulnerable. It will take continued help and support from everyone.”
Gov. Tom Wolf’s red, yellow and green phases reopening Pennsylvania after coronavirus-related shutdowns in 2020. (Graphic via the governor’s office.)