Governor Tom Wolf has declined to give the Bucks County Commissioners an exact date on when the county will be able to move into the “yellow phase” of his reopen plan.
However, a spokesperson from the administration told Commissioner Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia the county is rapidly moving toward the next phase. Wolf’s administration will be able to give more information by next week.
The Commissioners spoke directly with Wolf this past Saturday. They contended cases at long term care facilities should be considered separately from the rest of the general population.
While it would bring Bucks closer to reopening, but the administration has so far rejected this argument.
In response to Wolf’s decision, the Commissioners released a statement to the public. In it, they state they never intended “to defy Governor Wolf’s stay-at-home order as some have inferred.”
Instead, Wolf has agreed to include “a staff member in Bucks County’s daily conference calls with fellow officials from the five-county Philadelphia region.”
The governor’s administration has made it clear any county which reopens early could lose state funding. This could include PEMA disaster relief funding and any possible reimbursements for COVID-19 related expenses, according to the Commissioners.
In addition, Bucks will use $6 million in funding from the CARES Act to provide small business loans.
“We appreciate the frustration, fear, and anxiety that many small business owners are feeling right now,” the commissioners’ statement said. “While it may be extremely difficult to remain closed now, the alternative of potentially never being able to open again because you’ve lost your business license or insurance is far worse.”
Bucks County health officials announced 63 new coronavirus cases Wednesday. This brings the county total to 4,133.
Of them, 1,140 people have made full recoveries. Seven people died, bringing the total deaths to 348.
Three of the new cases were the result of community spread. However, contact tracers were unable to contact seven people.