By: Don Shaw email: don.shaw@pennsylvaniachronicle.com (570) 543-2961

PA House Speaker; Opening Construction Projects Next Week is Good News

PA House Speaker; Opening Construction Projects Next Week is Good News

Harrisburg, PA

Governor Tom Wolf, yesterday,  presented his detailed plan for reopening the commonwealth with a targeted May 8 start. The administration will categorize reopening into three phases: red, yellow, green. Phases will be assigned based on conditions in a county, counties or region. Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) released a following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement to allow public and private construction projects to proceed throughout the Commonwealth:

“The more than 260,000 hard-working men and women in Pennsylvania’s construction trades got good news tonight as Gov. Wolf announced the opening of all construction projects next week on May 1. This announcement follows House action yesterday, including the bipartisan passage of House Bill 2400, which I authored. This bill would safely open construction projects.

“The successful advancement of House Republican legislation to permit safe economic activity under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines made tonight’s announcement by Gov. Wolf possible.

“Gov. Wolf and I had a positive discussion today; he was open to the suggestion that construction activities could be done safely, allowing tradespersons to resume their important work – much of it seasonal. Working with him on this issue showed we can move forward together on fighting COVID-19, while rebuilding the economy.

“The people who work in the construction trades can see light now at the end this COVID-19 tunnel. This is about employees and self-employed persons in construction who want to put food on the table and provide shelter for their families. People across Pennsylvania want the dignity of work, an opportunity to care for their families, and to be safe.”

The administration will first study conditions in the north-central and northwest regions with a target of moving from red to yellow on May 8. Additional monitoring will take place and direction will be provided in the next week.

To decide when to move to a new phase, the administration will use Department of Health metrics and a data tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University. The full plan is available here.

The red phase, which currently applies to the whole state, has the sole purpose of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 through strict social distancing, non-life sustaining business and school closures, and building safety protocols.