ERIE – In response to Governor Wolf’s May 29 press announcement excluding Erie County from receiving a “green phase” designation, Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA) Senior Government Relations Representative Jezree Friend issued the following statement:
“We continue to encourage our members to comply with Pennsylvania’s recommended safety measures for their business operations, and we are proud of their continued diligence to provide a safe environment for their employees and customers.
The MBA’s membership spans 54 counties with a large portion operating in Erie County. We ask the governor, Erie County executive and our Erie County state delegation for transparency as to which metric or determinations deemed Erie County disqualified from the governor’s “green phase” designation. The current standards appear subjective after counties with less favorable numbers in the southwest region of the state have been given permission to move into the “green phase” on June 5.
The Northwest region has the lowest numbers in the Commonwealth. Specifically, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Erie County’s death rate of 1.5 per 100,000 residents pales in comparison to the following counties all announced to enter the “green phase” on June 5: Allegheny 13.3; Butler 6.4; Armstrong 6.1; Bedford 4.2; Cambria 1.5; Clinton 5.2; Fayette 3.2; Fulton 6.2; Indiana 5.9; Lycoming 14.1; Mercer 4.5; Washington 2.4; and Westmoreland 14.8. Erie County’s numbers also are more favorable than 13 of the announced 16 counties to receive the “green phase” designation. It should come as no surprise many of these county’s elected leaders unified to advocate for the “green phase.”
With growing reports of businesses making the difficult decision to lay off more employees, some permanently, it is imperative Erie County be included in a “green phase” designation on June 5, if not sooner. Additionally, we call on the Erie County executive and the Erie County state delegation to join us in our request. There is a clear distinction between disobeying the governor’s guidance and advocating for your constituency. Politics aside, it is time for leadership.”