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An open letter to Governor Wolf, Gene Yaw and Jeff Wheeland

Dear Governor Wolf, Senator Yaw and Representative Wheeland:

I am 68 years old. I have a history of sarcoidosis. This gives me two strikes and puts me in the category of being more at risk for the coronavirus than others.

I was a business owner — residential construction remodeling. Fortunately, I sold my business in October 2018. I now happily am working for the new owner.

I am using the word fortunately because I would not want to be a business owner right now.

My wife, who will be 65, works at a satellite Geisinger facility.

We are both actively working from home whenever possible.

We are actively practicing safe distancing.

We are maintaining six feet of separation when we go for long walks outside or short visits to the grocery store.

We carry and use disinfectants when we need to.

• At the grocery store.

• At home if someone brings something to our door, we wipe down anything that is touched.

• Wherever and whenever it is needed

We now wear masks.

We have not personally and physically interacted with our grandchildren, who are local, due to safety concerns for a month, which is a huge disappointment.

Our congregation is holding services and educational classes via Zoom, so that we can maintain our sense of being a congregational family. Thank goodness for this technology.

Governor Wolf, I understand your concerns about flattening the curve.

I understand your concerns about people getting ill and dying.

I absolutely share those concerns.

Now that people seem to be better equipped about the dangers of the virus and the precautionary steps that need to be taken, I am becoming gravely concerned about a potentially more severe illness and dying crisis.

I am talking about the economic illnesses that the shutdowns are inflicting upon people.

Employees who might be living from paycheck to paycheck.

Business owners who have sunk their life savings into their businesses, only to see their cash flow abruptly stop.

I have recently had several new business owners tell me that they are not sure that they will survive, given the overhead for the equipment, inventory and physical plant that they have had to commit to in order to even start their business.

Homeshows that provide anywhere from 25 to 75 percent of business vanished just like that. Expenses that were incurred with no or very little hope of being recouped, the longer the shutdown continues.

I think about the financial turmoil – declining credit ratings, loss of homes and vehicles, and maybe even bankruptcy – all of which have long term financial implications on the people who will need financial help in the foreseeable future.

There are the huge losses in the financial markets. Not only are there losses in our investment accounts, which hopefully will rebound, as they seem to be doing right now, but many people might not be able to invest/save for their futures because their income streams have diminished or evaporated.

I worry about the emotional health of the people who cannot work.

• Will there be more suicides?

• Will there be more domestic violence?

• Will there be increases in PTSD?

• Will there be people who will never recover emotionally?

• Will our medical facilities be able to help these people for the long term?

I am asking, using my former construction business that I successfully ran for 43 years, and now work for as an employee, as an example…

Why can’t we send people out to work on a job if they can safely maintain the 6 feet of separation, use masks and do disinfection of their equipment.

All of our employees have their own hand tools.

We use masks many times throughout our projects.

We do not need to have people standing on top of one another while they are working.

We are already incorporating everything that you are now asking, NO, YOU ARE TELLING US, to do.

We are adults.

We realize what the stakes are and what the ramifications are.

If we have a job site where the customer does not want us there, we will honor their request. We have others job sites that we can go to.

The bottom line is that YOU NEED TO GIVE US THE OPPORTUNITY AND THE FLEXIBILITY TO WORK.

I do not understand how the waivers were granted. I see contractors who do the same type of work as my employer. They applied at the same time as my employer did. They have received a waiver and my employer did not.

Governor Wolf, please explain to me why this is so. This is perplexing me to no end.

I am hoping and fully expecting that you will respond with a genuine response.

I will not accept a generic response.

I will not accept a form letter response.

I am fully expecting to receive a genuine response with answers to my questions.

Feel free to call me.

Marvin B. Hurwitz is a former business owner living in Williamsport.

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