Innamorato: Putting people first as we reopen PA

PITTSBURGH, June 2 – As Allegheny County moves towards the green phase of Pennsylvania’s pandemic response, state Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, said she will continue to put people – and not politics – first as the state moves towards its new normal.

“Over the last two months, all of us have been asked to make great sacrifices to protect our communities, our neighbors and our loved ones,” Innamorato said. “And the good news is that our sacrifices and hard work have not been in vain – together we have slowed the spread of the coronavirus in Pa., saving, by some estimates, tens of thousands of lives.

“As summer approaches, I too want to return to normal. I too want to go out to the farmers’ markets on the weekend, to visit the Bloomfield pool, and to spend time with my family and friends. I too want to see our Main Streets open and bustling. And every day brings us one step closer to that – by working with medical professionals, researchers, and public health experts, I think we will soon be in a place where we can all finally get back to work and enjoy our summer.

“But what I will not do is risk my neighbors’, friends’ or relatives’ lives and health. I have advocated for worker protections so that we can safely reopen every business, rather than make people choose between their lives and livelihoods.

“House Resolution 836, which was pushed through the House late Thursday, would terminate the governor’s disaster emergency declaration with regard to business operations.

Instead of focusing on bills and programs that protect workers, make our Main Street businesses and families solvent, and ensure a proper, well-funded, science-backed public health response to avoid all future shutdowns.

“I understand why people are desperate to open up. There are many who have been waiting weeks for help that never arrived from the federal and state government. That feeling of powerlessness drive us to demanding that we open up too soon and risk our own safety and the safety of our neighbors. People are welcome to call our office for help; we have connections with so many state and local agencies and nonprofits who want provide us what we need to make it through.

“I want to commend the people of my district – the parents, the shop owners, the mask-makers the first-responders – who sprang into action by staying home. Over the course of the pandemic, I’ve seen a practice of solidarity of neighbors helping neighbors. That spirit of solidarity and caring for one another should be reflected in the way we govern in Harrisburg.”