Petrarca: Extremely frustrated area not included in first reopening phase, asking governor to reconsider

‘We are not Pittsburgh.’

VANDERGRIFT, May 1 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, expressed his frustration today after Gov. Tom Wolf announced the partial reopening of 24 counties in the state, but Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland were not among them.

“Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland counties border the counties that will be opened May 8, but instead of considering the low number of cases there, they apparently are being lumped in with the Pittsburgh region, which still struggling with a large number of COVID-19 cases,” Petrarca said.

To date, Armstrong only has 52 cases reported, and Indiana, 63.

“I firmly believe that the lifting of the stay-at-home restrictions and the reopening of local businesses should be determined on a county-by-county basis. It’s simply not fair to lump our more rural counties in with urban ones. Our population density is nowhere near that of Allegheny County and Pittsburgh,” he said. “In fact, our counties have fewer reported cases than other counties -- such as Erie and Centre -- that were included in today’s reopening announcement.

“I urge Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine to reconsider this decision and include our counties in the plan to reopen the state on May 8.”

The governor today announced that the state was moving 24 counties from the red “closed” category to yellow, which is the first step in reopening. The counties moving from red to yellow are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren.