PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania state Senate has passed a bill to reopen businesses in the commonwealth that adhere to social distancing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman says Gov. Tom Wolf will veto the bill.
“The passing wasn’t a surprise and the governor’s eventual, inevitable veto won’t be a surprise either,” Fetterman said.READ MORE: 'Dr. Oz' Aids Police In Resuscitating Man At Newark Airport
The Republican-controlled House approved the bill on Tuesday with no Democratic support.
The bill passed the Senate with a 29-21 vote after it was debated for more than two hours during a very contentious day in Harrisburg. It would essentially reopen businesses across the commonwealth.
“If we don’t do this right, the economy is going to be in even worse shape than it is now,” Wolf said about reopening businesses.
While many Democrats oppose the measure, many small business owners are embracing it.
“I think it can be done. I think we can make a lot of changes, even in the short term,” said Denis Pody of Flowers Etc. in Northern Liberties.READ MORE: FEMA-Run Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Site Opens At Pennsylvania Convention Center
Pody can still take online and phone orders but the small business owner is bracing for a big hit in sales if she won’t be able to take walk-in orders for Mother’s Day next month.
“If we can just have an opportunity to make changes, safe changes, we’re not really given that opportunity right now and that’s unfortunate,” she said.
To her, Wolf’s shutdown doesn’t make sense because grocery stores can sell flowers to anyone walking in. And with 1.4 million Pennsylvanians having filed for unemployment, Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg agree.
“I think the reality is, we need to do something to help our economy and get back to work,” said state Sen. Bob Mensch, who represents Bucks and Montgomery Counties.
State Republican senators debated a bill Wednesday that would essentially reopen all businesses across the commonwealth if they agree to follow CDC guidelines, like social distancing.
However, Democrats say it’s too early.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Native Will Smith Teases Idea Of Running For Political Office One Day
“I believe the governor will veto this,” state Sen. Sharif Street, of Philadelphia, said. “And I believe this is a political stunt and an irresponsible one.”