‘We’ve given up a lot’: Wolf says laying out plan for May 8 gradual reopening

    Gov. Tom Wolf delivers a daily press briefing Monday, April 6. (Screen capture)

    After six weeks of business closings and social distancing efforts, Gov. Tom Wolf announced plans Monday to gradually reopen the state starting on May 8. 

    Speaking to journalists Monday during an online news conference, Wolf said his administration will use an “evidence-based,” region by region to approach the reopening. The announcement came as thousands of people, protesting the administration’s month-old shutdown order and the economic hardship that it’s caused, protested at the Capitol. 

    Wolf clarified that during the reopening process, “strict” social distancing guidelines will remain in place.

    “We cannot relax,” Wolf said. “We still do not have a vaccine.”

    Through midday Monday, the state had confirmed 33,232 cases of COVID-19 in all 67 counties, with 1,204 known fatalities.

    Select state-owned liquor stores reopened Monday for curbside pickup, which Wolf said could be expanded as the state gradually reopens. 

    Wolf also announced that statewide construction projects would resume with the strict adherence to social distancing recommendations.

    “We should not abandon social distancing,” Wolf said, adding that officials will have monitoring and containment action plans in place during the reopening process, should a spike in cases occur. 

    Wolf expressed concerns about reopening the state too quickly, which he said could cause a spike in cases and mass employee tardiness, if workers fear coming to work. 

    While protesters occupied the Capitol steps in Harrisburg Monday morning, Wolf sympathized with the sacrifices Pennsylvanians have made to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

    “It hasn’t been easy, but it has paid off,” Wolf said, adding that the state’s COVID-19 cases have “stabilized.”

    Wolf encouraged protesters to “stay safe,” asking them to adhere to social distancing efforts while exercising their right to peacefully assemble. 

    “We also need to have hope,” Wolf said. “We can get through this, we will get through this.” 

    Cassie Miller
    A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.