Bizzarro, Merski, Harkins: Erie going green June 26 ‘the best possible news’

ERIE, June 19 –State Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Robert Merski and Pat Harkins, all D-Erie, issued the following statements in response to news that Erie County will be moving to the green phase of the state’s reopen plan on Friday, June 26. 

“To say that this has been a trying period for Erie is an understatement,” Bizzarro said. “It’s hard to remember a time when our community’s endurance and patience were tested more severely, or for so long.

“Our delegation fought hard to move Erie to green, but ultimately, it was the people of Erie, doing their part to slow the spread of the virus, that made the difference. To be sure, we face a long road ahead. But with the rest of our businesses soon free to reopen, a community ready and willing to support them and a small business grant program on the horizon, we will soon be forging a path to revitalization.”

Merski said, “We fought for weeks to move Erie to green, and the announcement today that this is finally happening is the best possible news we could have received. The pandemic and related shutdowns stopped our economy in its tracks, placed a huge burden on business owners and working families, and left many in our community feeling isolated. Getting into the green will help change all that by lifting most restrictions.

“Businesses already running at 50% occupancy will be able to run at 75% occupancy; barbershops and hair and nail salons will be able to start taking appointments; and gyms, spas, restaurants and bars will open their doors at 50% occupancy, along with casinos, theaters and malls. With a gradual return to a new normal, our community will start feeling like a community again. I’m urging everyone to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing, which will be key to our remaining open.”

Harkins said, “The pandemic has been brutal, hitting our working families and mom-and-pop businesses especially hard. Now, we are on the verge of going green and returning to full open status. By this time next week, more of our community will begin pulsing with activity.

“As we take those next steps forward, it’s critical to remember that the virus is still very much alive and well. The good news is that we know how to control its spread – through wearing masks, practicing social distancing and following health directives – and we need to keep that going. If we let down our guard, we give the virus a foothold to resurge, and our community has fought too hard to allow that to happen.”

More detailed information about green phase activities is available here.