McNeill lauds Wolf announcement as ‘first step in the right direction’

HARRISBURG, Oct. 22 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, today called Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to provide financial relief to the more than 16,000 restaurants and bars impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic the “first step in the right direction.”

“The governor’s plan to waive standard licensing fees through 2021 will bring an estimated $20 million dollars in much needed relief, and is a good starting point; it’s an example of ways we need to be and should be supporting our service industry,” McNeill said. “So many people here in Lehigh County have had to deal with the dangerous and novel health-related realities of COVID-19, facing isolation, illness, and losing loved ones. During the past eight months, mitigation steps have saved lives and kept our infection rates down. Yet one of the harshest symptoms –financial distress- continues to inflict even those not infected.

“Today’s announcement is the first step, of what I hope will be many, in the right direction with regard to aiding our restaurants, bars and clubs,” McNeill said. “I’ve joined my colleagues in encouraging Governor Wolf to urge the federal government to pass the Restaurants Act. And, I call on all of my colleagues to work swiftly together, with a focus on legislation that helps these and other small businesses. It’s time to seek ways to be innovative solution seekers together, and to do so with trust knowing that restaurant and bar owners have made the investments to ensure employee and customer safety as we continue to face the uncertainty of this contagious virus.”

Earlier this week, McNeill joined 132 of her colleagues in voting to override the governor’s veto of House Bill 2513, legislation that would have ended the governor’s pandemic-related operating restrictions on bars and restaurants across the commonwealth. The attempt needed 135 votes to be successful.