Gov. Tom Wolf denounces Pa. counties reopening without his approval as ‘cowardly,’ ‘selfish’

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf sternly rebuked Pennsylvania counties and businesses that plan to reopen without state approval, calling it a “cowardly act” that could cost those areas not only lives but federal stimulus money, too.

Over the past week, a host of lawmakers, district attorneys, and law enforcement agencies in counties still under strict COVID-19 closure orders said they planned to defy Mr. Wolf and unilaterally move themselves to the next phase of the governor’s reopening plan. State officials have given 37 counties the go-ahead to ease restrictions, lifting the stay-at-home order and allowing some businesses to reopen if they follow certain safety precautions.

“These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy. In the middle of a war that we Pennsylvanians are winning, and that we must win,” Mr. Wolf said at a news conference Monday. “They need to understand the consequences of their cowardly act.”

Mr. Wolf said counties that reopen without state approval could be denied their share of discretionary funding from the federal stimulus. Businesses in these areas that resume operations risk losing state certifications from the health department, liquor control board and other agencies, which are necessary to operate.

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