Power To Destroy
Levine and Wolf would rather talk and talk about a dunk tank at the Bloomsburg Fair grounds while they are destroying the Pennsylvania restaurant and bar industry. It’s past time they share their specific secret data they used to command restaurants to “go from 50% to 25%” and bars to cease operations with only 8 1/2 hours notice.
Pennsylvania restaurant official predicts Gov. Wolf’s coronavirus mitigation order could lead to closure of 7,500 PA restaurants
Levine and Wolf will not “produce granular data that ‘X’ restaurant in ‘X’ county was implicated.” Obviously because they do not have the data.
The Department of Health has not released statewide statistics to support its contention that bars and restaurants are fueling higher case numbers.
20 hrs ago
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania bar and restaurant owners said Tuesday they have been unfairly blamed for rising virus case numbers, challenging the Wolf administration to provide evidence and blasting the Democratic governor anew over pandemic restrictions they say will drive many of them out of business.
Wolf cited rising infection rates in some hot spots when he imposed a new round of restrictions on bars and restaurants two weeks ago. Occupancy was reduced from 50% to 25% capacity, and alcohol can only be served with meals.
Riki Tanaka, who owns three restaurants in lightly impacted McKean County, in the rural northwest, told a state House panel it makes no sense and “flat out isn’t fair” to lump eateries in his region with those in virus hot spots like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
He said no restaurant can survive under the limitations imposed by Wolf, noting he had to furlough dozens of workers.
“Give us a fighting chance,” he implored. “Let me operate my business.”
Tanaka and other restaurant owners and industry officials testified at a hearing arranged by House Republicans.
John Longstreet, head of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, a trade group, said there is no proof that limiting restaurants to 25% capacity is more effective at preventing the spread of the virus than 50%. He warned that thousands of establishments are in danger of closing permanently without relief from the state.
The Department of Health has not released statewide statistics to support its contention that bars and restaurants are fueling higher case numbers. But contact tracing data compiled by Allegheny County — the epicenter of Pennsylvania’s rising case numbers in July — yielded evidence that employees and patrons at bars and restaurants helped drive the spread there, state health officials said.
“Limiting places where congregation occurs and masking is impossible (while eating and drinking) is a logical step to prevent further spread,” the health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, said in written testimony to the House panel.
In a Tuesday news conference, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley cited rising case numbers and predicted the situation will be “worse before it gets better.”
The city pushed the restart of indoor dining to Sept. 1. It had originally said restaurants could offer indoor table service in early July, with social distancing measures and restrictions on seating and occupancy, before postponing that to August.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher than the state’s confirmed case count because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Rubinkam reported from northeastern Pennsylvania. Associated Press reporter Claudia Lauer contributed to this story from Philadelphia. Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.