Business Owners Speak Out Against PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s Lockdown Restrictions

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Elizabeth Weibel Contributor
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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced a new wave of restrictions last week aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus as cases surged throughout the state.

Gov. Wolf’s newest mitigation efforts, which were targeted mostly towards indoor gatherings, and at temporarily halting indoor dining at restaurants and bars, went into effect on Saturday, Dec. 12 and are in effect until Jan. 4, according to PennLive.

Prior to these new restrictions, Gov. Wolf announced the Monday before Thanksgiving that bars and restaurants would be restricted from serving alcohol to customers starting at 5:00 p.m. on the eve of Thanksgiving.

The governor’s additional restrictions were another blow to the food service industry, as many restaurants and bars throughout the state of Pennsylvania were left in a difficult situation without the option of indoor dining being available going into winter.

“It just seems like he penalizes the all for the few,” Frank Cerminaro, one of the owners of Frank’s Place, a family-owned restaurant in Simpson, Penn., said in an interview with the Daily Caller.

“We’ll survive here, we’re a strong business,” he added. “We’re doing a lot of takeout now. My staff, they’re the ones that are really hurting though.”

Frank’s Place, like many restaurants throughout the state, have had to resort to either using outdoor pavilions or tents in order to continue with outdoor dining. Even with outdoor dining being allowed, restaurants are still subjected to a capacity limit. According to Gov. Wolf’s newest restrictions, businesses are limited to serving customers in-person at up to 50% of the businesses maximum capacity. (RELATED: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Imposes New Lockdowns, Bans Indoor Dining, Large Gatherings)

“It’s a shame that we have to be singled out,” Cerminaro explained. “You can go to the big box stores, they’re having record years. There’s no restrictions on them.”

In response to the latest lockdown measures, David Franceski, the owner of the Beacon Bar and Grill in Union Dale, Penn., told the Caller in an interview, “It didn’t work the first time around, and you were trying to pay people to stay home. At least the federal government was, and it didn’t work.”

“But, you’ve shut us down again anyhow. You’ve put small businesses on the chopping block,” he continued. “You’ve threatened all of their livelihoods.”

The mitigation efforts haven’t just affected the food industry, and retail shops though. Gyms and fitness centers throughout Pennsylvania found themselves getting slammed with restrictions as well. According to the mitigation efforts on Gov. Wolf’s website, fitness centers are not allowed to continue indoor operations during this time, but are allowed to continue outdoor classes as long as face masks are worn.

In a recent survey released by Gallup on Dec. 7, Americans’ mental health is now at the worse point it’s been in nearly two decades. The survey by Gallup reported that 76% of Americans are now reporting their mental health as either excellent or good. This is a nine-point drop as since 2001, with more than 80% of Americans rating their mental health as excellent or good.

Andrew Carpenter, owner and co-founder of Iron Therapy Gym in Forest City, Penn., spoke to the Daily Caller about how the lockdowns can affect people’s mental health.

“Staying home is depressing. If you’re locked inside 24/7, it’s kind of like imprisonment,” Carpenter explained. “When people get out and do this, workout, this is their mental health,” he added.

“This is my therapy. That’s why I named it, ‘Iron Therapy Gym’ because the iron is my therapy,” he said. “This is how I relieve stress, this is how I deal with stuff.”