The Pennsylvania House of Representatives late Thursday night approved a bill to end the shutdown of businesses in the state.
The bill, which passed by a 117 to 85 vote, which was largely along party lines, with a few Democrats voting in favor, would end the governor’s executive order that shut down businesses.
It would leave in place the state’s emergency declaration so assistance would still be available for such entities as nursing homes. The bill now heads to the state senate.
In a press release, the Republican leaders criticized the shutdown as “arbitrary, frustrating and destructive to family-owned small businesses.”
Non-life-sustaining businesses were shut down in mid-March as part of the governor’s plan to stop the progression of the COVID-19 virus.
Some parts of the state entered the green phase of the governor’s reopening plan today, which allows most businesses to resume, but with social distancing.
The rest of the state will move to the yellow phase of the governor’s reopening plan on June 5. The yellow phase allows retail and restaurants to open with some restrictions. Restaurants, for example, would be allowed to provide dine-in service in outdoor areas with socially-distanced seating.
Businesses such as salons, gyms and theaters will not yet be allowed to reopen.
As of Thursday the state had more than 70,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 and more than 5,300 deaths.