Advocacy Organizations, Others Show Support for Latest COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts

Last Thursday, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced time-limited mitigation measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. These mitigation measures went into effect on Saturday, December 12, to protect Pennsylvanians from this devastating virus. Education, labor and health care advocacy organizations and other groups are showing their support for the plans.

Here is a snapshot of the support:

Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers President & CEO Cheri Rinehart

“We know that this was a very difficult decision to make and one that wasn’t made lightly, but it is one that science supports, our weary healthcare providers support and that we support.”

Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Vice President Aaron Chapin

“We hope that Pennsylvanians comply with these new orders, because the health and safety of everyone in our communities depend on it. We must do what we can to ensure that Pennsylvania’s children, educators and staff can interact in the safest learning environment possible.”

Pennsylvania Principals Association, Assistant Executive Director Eric C. Eshbach

“The Pennsylvania Principals Association applauds Governor Wolf for taking the necessary steps to protect students and staff by delaying the start of the winter season for all K-12 interscholastic athletics. Every effort must be taken to ensure a safe, healthy educational environment. This includes not only actions and behaviors necessary to mitigate the transmission of this virus while students are in the classroom, but also when they step onto the court of competition. A delay of the winter sports season offers an alternative to losing an entire season. This will allow school leaders the time to implement the mitigation efforts Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine have implemented. While we realize the hugely positive impact athletics has on our students’ physical, social, and emotional well-being, we cannot overlook the duty of every principal: to ensure the safety of the students and staff we serve.”

AARP PA State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh

“AARP remains committed to helping to protect the health and safety of our nearly 1.8 million members and all Pennsylvanians and encourages everyone to follow the public health experts’ advise to help slow the spread and ultimately defeat COVID-19.”

Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) Executive Director Diane Menio

“As we watch numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise, we urge all Pennsylvanians to follow the Governor’s mitigation orders to help save lives.”

SeniorLAW Center Executive Director Karen C. Buck

“The older Pennsylvanians we serve at SeniorLAW Center – our grandparents, parents, older veterans – have made enormous sacrifices throughout their lives for the benefit of all of us, through wars, the Great Depression, other health and national crises. They are most affected by this virus now, and need our sacrifice, which indeed benefits us all. We join the Governor in asking all Pennsylvanians to follow the mitigation protocols to come together to help end this crisis, for the sake of our kids, families, seniors, those hit hard by illness, financial strife or continuing racial disparities, all of us.”

Community Legal Services Supervising Attorney Pamela Walz

“We strongly support the Wolf administration’s new COVID-19 mitigation measures. These steps are critical to protecting the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, as higher rates of community spread have consistently resulted in more COVID-19 cases and deaths among long term care facility residents. Slowing the spread of the virus is also critical to protecting the health and safety of communities of color, which have been impacted and suffered disproportionately from the pandemic.”

SEIU 668 President Stephen Catanese

“Like so many Pennsylvanians, our members are doing critical public and human services work that in many cases, does not allow for physical distancing. Many are working directly with at-risk and COVID-positive patients, and they are extraordinarily tired, but they keep going. We hope that Pennsylvanians take these new restrictions seriously, because our frontline workers are depending on us to do what we can to stop the spread of COVID.”

AFSCME Council 13 Executive Director Dave Fillman

“This disease has taken an enormous toll on our state and nation. This should not be a political issue. This is not a time for partisan politics. If we all step up and work together, we can turn this around. The consequences of failure are just too great. We all need to double down and be safe.”

UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell Young IV

“Our members are on the front lines of this crisis. This is a matter of life and death not just for our members but for everyone.

“We need to get all workers back to the job. We need to bring businesses and our communities back. That just won’t happen if we don’t all do our part. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Don’t gather in large groups.”