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Guv Wolf: Savior or menace?

“Holy overboard economy-crushing edicts!”

Tom Wolf as the Grinch
Editorial Cartoon by Tom Stiglich

Editor’s Note: Comments in this editorial accompany PW’s Dec. 17 cover.

No shit, Robin. This is getting way out of control. Worry, fear and panic already permeate many people’s daily lives.

When Gov. Tom Wolf put a coronavirus-promoted ban on indoor dining, private gatherings, gyms and other activities, you wonder if he’d gone as crazy as The Joker. Either that, or he’s as cold as Mr. Freeze.

Some say Wolf is simply following in step with what other states with higher COVID cases are doing, like New York. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented a report that gave a breakdown of how the virus was spreading throughout the Empire State. When we asked the Commonwealth for similar case-spread data, it came up empty-handed.

It’s as if our elected officials – and even many in the private sector who so strongly defended civil liberties over the summer – have now become the very people advocating against them.

What Philadelphians should consider is the broader impact these restrictions are having on their livelihoods. Major lockdowns like these will ultimately have long-lasting and untold ramifications on our economy, our physical and mental health and our overall well-being as a society. The ripple effect of forcibly shutting everything down could last decades, and what’s super sad is that for many businesses, the damage is already done.

Dave Magrogran is founder and CEO of Harvest Seasonal Grill, which has locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. While he has managed to keep his restaurants open, he said he’s been forced to reduce his staff from 400 to 70 since the start of the pandemic.

“When you look at the contact tracing…It actually vindicates restaurants and that’s what’s so disappointing about what our governor is doing,” he told me.

“Everything that restaurants are doing is helping prevent the spread and I think we’re being victimized.”

Sandy Stevens, owner of Anytime Fitness, a gym in Boothwyn, had to close her doors last Saturday. She said that running the gym was her only source of income.

“For so many of our members, this is their sanity – their mental break, how they keep themselves from being depressed, being alone,” she said.

“This [lockdown] is definitely doing more harm than good.”

Wolf and Kenney’s latest round of sanctions on our freedoms will surely result in another wave of business failures and the loss of jobs that go with it. Both politicians have expressed concern over the impacts their decisions will have on working people, but their actions prove otherwise.

But then again, isn’t it just like these guys to be telling us one thing while doing another?

“We all must do one simple thing to stop the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask,” Wolf says – who then tests positive for the virus.

And the mayor’s message: “We need to stay indoors as much as we can,” and then went all the way to Maryland to eat inside comfortably.

Come to think about it, they kind of remind me of another comic book character: Two-Face.

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  • PW Editor Jenny DeHuff

    Jenny DeHuff has been a part of the Philadelphia media landscape for the last 15 years on just about every level of journalism. She started out at The Bulletin, a conservative voice for Philadelphia, then moved through the region as she honed her career as the City Hall reporter at the Daily News, and later as an editor at Philly Voice. As Philadelphia Weekly's editor-in-chief, DeHuff brings a viewpoint that constantly begs the question of a progressive-leaning Philadelphia. Say hello at jdehuff@philadelphiaweekly.com.

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