Rep. Goodman votes against ending disaster declaration; calls for Schuylkill County to move immediately to green recovery phase

MAHANOY CITY, June 10 -- State Rep. Neal P. Goodman voted against a measure Tuesday night aimed at ending Gov. Tom Wolf’s disaster declaration, but said the time has come to move Schuylkill County to the green phase of recovery. 

Goodman said he voted against H.R. 836 because the state Constitution clearly gives the governor and only the governor the power to declare or terminate a state of disaster. Goodman, D-Schuylkill, said he believes the governor will veto the concurrent resolution and the state Supreme Court will uphold his authority to declare or end a disaster. 

“Abruptly ending the disaster declaration and completely reopening the entire state immediately would lead to Pennsylvania losing $1.5 billion in federal disaster recovery funding at a time when the people of Pennsylvania need every dollar of relief funding possible,” Goodman said.

However, Goodman added that he strongly supports his colleagues in the Schuylkill County Legislative Delegation in calling for Schuylkill County to move to the green phase of recovery. Goodman said Schuylkill County has had consistently low numbers of new COVID-19 infections over the past few weeks and he has every confidence in local businesses being able to comply with reopening guidelines.

“Our businesses can safely reopen with appropriate social distancing and, if necessary personal protective equipment,” he said. 

In the green phase, restaurants and bars, hair salons and barbershops, gyms and malls can reopen at 50 percent capacity. Also, construction can return to full capacity with safety protocols.