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Lawmaker visits city businesses

Government policies and restrictions have prevented businesses from hiring more workers and returning to pre-pandemic operations, according to U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer.

The lawmaker took time this week to visit with business owners in his 12th Congressional District including Williamsport to see how they are making out as more people become vaccinated and the nation slowly returns to normal conditions.

“We’ve been getting out to businesses,” he said Wednesday during a stop at the restaurant, Barrel 135, 135 W. Third St. “We are getting input from the people.”

Keller noted that while many businesses, which were forced to shut down during COVID are again open, they still face challenges thanks to restrictions put in place by the Wolf Administration.

“The governor is out of touch,” he said.

On Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the state’s masking order will be dropped after 70 percent of the state’s residents 18 and older are vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the state will lift its COVID-19 mitigation order on Memorial Day that includes capacity limits for restaurants, theaters, event spaces, and other businesses.

Keller said he has every confidence that people know how to keep themselves safe from the coronavirus.

“People can run their own lives and businesses better than government can,” he said.

He said businesses are eager to hire more workers but generous unemployment benefits are discouraging people from wanting a job.

He referred to one manufacturing operation in the southern part of the 12th Congressional District that doesn’t have the workers to produce the demand for its goods.

He feels people need to be incentivized to return to work.

Keller said it’s important that he gets out into the district to see what’s going on with businesses.

“I believe government should be defined by the people,” he said.

He’s hopeful businesses can return to pre-pandemic operating conditions but is concerned about the nation’s growing debt and government regulations under the Biden Administration.

“Now is not the time for the government to pile more regulations on,” he said.

Keller also visited Avu Goldsmiths, 246 E. Church St., Williamsport, and 2310 Apparel, 2310 Lycoming Creek Road, Williamsport.

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