HARRISBURG, PA — Rep. Stephen Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware), who has served on the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Council for 10 years, voted against renewing Gov. Tom Wolf’s 90-day COVID-19 disaster declaration at a council meeting on Friday. The disaster declaration was to expire on June 4.
Barrar was one of only two dissenting votes.
“I believe the COVID-19 mitigation efforts thus far have served their purpose in preventing further spread of the virus and keeping our hospitals and health care systems from being overburdened,” said Barrar. “However, the emergency declaration and statewide shutdown has been detrimental to our businesses and the economic stability of working families. It is time to remove the restraints on Pennsylvania businesses and let our residents get back to work.
“The pandemic has been harmful to millions of Pennsylvanians who found themselves out of work and at the mercy of a frustratingly unprepared, unresponsive and deeply flawed unemployment compensation system,” said Barrar. “For many, it will take months – even years – to recover financially and restore their good credit.
“The Commonwealth is also taking a significant financial hit this year with lower than anticipated revenues and increased costs resulting from the pandemic. The General Assembly recently passed a partial year budget to cover state expenditures until it is known what revenue will be coming in,” said Barrar. “Clearly, we need to get our economy going again. Residents have demonstrated their understanding of the virus threat and willingness to wear masks and take other safety precautions. Businesses are also changing how they operate. I believe it will do more harm than good to continue to restrict them.”
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