HARRISBURG – As Pennsylvania grapples with measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) is continuing efforts to improve the state’s response to the pandemic and protect the lives and livelihoods of local residents.
Mastriano raised serious concerns regarding Governor Wolf’s order to close all businesses the administration considered to be “non-life-sustaining.” The haphazard list included a number of industries that support businesses and are critical to the state’s response to the crisis.
“We all share the same mission of protecting the safety of Pennsylvanians, preventing the spread of this virus, and helping our state come back from this stronger than ever before,” said Mastriano. “The governor’s hasty decision and slow response to concerns created chaos and panic at a time when we needed clear communication and strong leadership.”
As a result of the urging of Mastriano and other lawmakers, an appeals process was created for businesses that believe they should be considered life-sustaining. A number of revisions were also made to the list of “life-sustaining businesses” to correct mistakes.
Mastriano was also one of the first lawmakers to raise concerns about the limited availability of Department of Health staff to answer questions from the public, including a hotline that was only open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Health officials later revised their policies to keep a hotline open 24 hours a day, 7 seven days a week.
“The limited hours of operation created an environment where people who desperately needed help and answers were left holding the phone,” Mastriano said.
Mastriano also fought to ensure truck stops would remain open in a limited capacity to provide food, showers and comfort for the dedicated drivers who continue to provide for Pennsylvania communities. The Pennsylvania Turnpike recently reopened all 17 of its travel plazas at the urging of Mastriano and others.
“The incredibly dedicated employees who keep our shelves stocked and our medical supply lines open are one of the biggest reasons why we will defeat the challenges ahead of us,” said Mastriano. “I am thankful that we found a way to reverse the disastrous decision to close these plazas.”
“We all have an obligation to work together during this crisis to protect the people we are elected to serve,” continued Mastriano. “All levels and branches of government need to work together to prevent mistakes like these before they happen. I remain willing to work with Governor Wolf and his administration as well as my colleagues in the General Assembly to respond to this crisis strongly and intelligently.”
CONTACT: Scot Andrew Pitzer; firstname.lastname@example.org