The debate about who should remain in lockdown and who should be able to begin the process of opening up in Pennsylvania has started to get much more heated. After several counties have appealed Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision prolong the lockdown, some have outright decided to disregard the Governor’s orders.
So far, 37 counties in Pennsylvania have been upgraded from the red phase to the yellow phase, which allows “non-essential” businesses to open up. Of the counties still in the red phase, many disagree with the Governor and are planning on moving themselves to the yellow phase. In many of the counties that plan to defy Wolf’s orders, Covid numbers remain low, but have been impacted by neighboring counties with higher numbers of infections.
Wolf responded to his critics at his Monday press conference as well as on Twitter, calling politicians who seek to reopen their counties without his approval “cowardly” and that they are giving up on the fight against the virus. He also threatened to withhold funding to those counties and remove licenses (i.e. liquor licenses) from business who are not in compliance.
This is coming at a time where much of the country has taken large steps to reopen their economies. States such as Georgia, Florida, and Texas were criticized for what was considered by many to be a premature reopening effort. However, new infections have remained rather low in those states, and in some cases have continued to dwindle.
Wolf and his medical experts, along with many other states with Democratic governors maintain that they are following the science and data to make their decisions. They also have responded to protestors and critics by framing their position as the only moral position. Many have criticized this self-righteousness as an authoritarian tactic, and frankly it’s not difficult to see why.