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Wyoming County won't reopen without Governor's OK

Wyoming County planned to move to the yellow phase on its own, until Governor Wolf warned of repercussions for business owners

TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. — People who live in Tunkhannock are worried that more and more of the "closed" signs on the storefronts along East Tioga Street are going to be replaced by "for sale" signs, as some already have. 

"If we can go inside a Walmart with more than one or two people, why are we not allowed to go inside a smaller business with one or two people," asked Susan Lane of Tunkhannock.

"The more that we wait, the more business people are losing, the more people can't afford to buy groceries," said Anthony Heise, also of Tunkhannock.

As of Monday morning, Wyoming County planned to follow in the footsteps of Schuylkill County, and move into the "yellow phase" on its own.

The commissioners even confirmed with local police departments that business owners who opened up would not be cited. 

"Then we watched the news conference at 11:30 and the bottom kind of fell out again," said Wyoming County Commissioner Rick Wilbur.

Governor Wolf's harsh words and warnings on Monday caused the commissioners to change their minds. 

"I was really shocked what he said. I thought there might be some consequences when we were talking about doing his, but I thought they would be minor and something we could live with," said Commissioner Wilbur.

Commissioner Wilbur says opening up without the governor's 'OK' could put small business owners in a lose-lose situation, they could lose their business if they stay closed, or risk losing their licenses and permits if they open up.

"And what he has threatened to do is because that would be considered an illegal act, it would make your insurance null and void. So they would lose liability insurance, they would lose their fire insurance, and that could be totally devastating. We need to get open but we can't get open and have something like that happening," said Wilbur.

Not to mention the state funding Governor Wolf threatened to withhold from counties that defy his order.

Commissioner Wilbur is hopeful that Wyoming County will be on the next list of counties that can move into the "yellow phase", but without any communication from the governor's office, he can't say for certain.

He says the county's requests and questions have all gone unanswered.

"The problem is, there's a lot of subjective reasons why you aren't picked. And we've sent a letter to the governor, I've sent several emails I sent another one this morning as a matter of fact, asking for a road map..Tell us why, why are we not being open. If it's subjective, tell us what your subjective reasons are and maybe we can do something about it," said Wilbur. 


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