Commissioners Letter To Governor Wolf
Dear Governor Wolf,
We, as the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, on behalf of our 253,000 residents have worked diligently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Cumberland County. We have instituted the guidelines from your office, the Department of Health and the CDC to keep our residents and our employees safe and healthy.
The county is not moving toward a unilateral “re-opening,” in the manner that some other counties have announced. We are committed to a reopening that can last, and have sustained success for the community. We hope that is soon. Cumberland County needs to open at the right time, and in the right manner.
As we continue through these challenging times, we encourage that you consider Cumberland County’s economy while moving forward with your plan to reopen the state. Our county is quite unique, with vibrant small businesses, major warehouse facilities, three major hospitals, and more than 20,000 acres of preserved farmland, and working farmers who are losing revenue. As a former business owner you understand the frustration that our business owners are experiencing.
Since COVID-19 hit our county we have seen many of our small businesses shuttered. This includes family-owned restaurants, car dealerships and day care centers. That doesn’t include the many businesses, including our county government, where we had to furlough 156 employees. We are, however, not promoting or advocating any actions that are openly defiant of the state of emergency, nor are we encouraging individuals or businesses to break the law.
These actions will likely prove detrimental in reaching the safe solution that is needed as soon as it’s feasible. There is a huge difference between “taking action,” and taking effective action. We need to be smart, as well as persistent.
We urge you to consider moving Cumberland County to the Yellow Phase as it has withheld a healthy economy for more than a decade, but has suffered while mitigating the spread of COVID-19. As we move into the next step in opening our county we will abide by all the
guidelines deemed necessary while operating responsibly. We will work with our local health care and pharmacy partners in an effort to increase COVID-19 testing throughout the county.
Our county’s population is approximately 253,000. We have just over 450 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This equates to less than two-tenths of one percent of our population.
The Department of Health has reported 33 deaths in our county, 29 of which have been in nursing homes, none from our county–owned facility, Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. We believe this further proves that the social distancing that we have in place, and continue in the Yellow Phase, can still be achieved while complying with the work and congregate setting restrictions, teleworking in our own county government offices where feasible, and following business and building safety orders. This includes social distancing, wearing masks and limiting large gatherings.
In our effort to get our county back to the new-normal, we request that you move us to the yellow phase as soon as it is feasible, so we can get our residents back to work, reinvigorate our economy all while keeping our residents safe.
CUMBERLAND COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
Gary Eichelberger, Chairman
Jean Foschi, Vice-Chairman
Vincent T. DiFilippo, Secretary