Just two days after voters approved two measures to curb his powers in disasters, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the renewal Thursday of Pennsylvania’s disaster declaration related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The emergency disaster declaration was originally signed last year in March, after confirmation of the first cases of coronavirus in the state. That disaster order expired May 20.
“COVID-19 vaccinations have increased dramatically in recent weeks and we are making significant progress in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Wolf said in a statement. “As previously announced, we are lifting all mitigation measures on Memorial Day, but we need just a little more time under this current disaster declaration to ensure that we do not risk valuable resources that will help Pennsylvania recover from the pandemic.”
The Governor underlined the importance of ensuring access to the COVID-19 vaccine. “The disaster declaration allows more medical professionals to administer vaccines, ensures families harmed financially by the pandemic have access to healthy food through SNAP benefits and ensures Pennsylvania counties and businesses remain eligible for federal disaster recovery dollars.”
Adjust mitigation orders
As reported by wtae.com, Wolf also pointed out the monitoring all the elements involved in the fight against the pandemic. “We will continue to monitor vaccination rates and adjust mitigation orders accordingly. I have been in touch with the general assembly regarding this extension, and we will continue to collaborate on the future of this disaster declaration and any future declarations that become necessary to help Pennsylvanians in the midst of an emergency.”
In Tuesday’s primary, Pennsylvania voters approved constitutional amendments to curb the governor’s emergency powers. The constitutional amendments take effect after the state certifies the election result, possibly in early June.
The governor has said the measures he has taken to curb COVID-19 infections, including the disaster declarations have been aimed at protecting the public in an unprecedented crisis.