May 8, 2020

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Coronavirus Briefing Transcript May 8

Tom Wolf Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript May 8
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsPennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Coronavirus Briefing Transcript May 8

Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf held a COVID-19 press conference on May 8. He announced that 13 Western Pennsylvania counties are entering the Yellow Phase of reopening. Read the full news briefing speech here.


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Tom Wolf: (00:17)

Tom Wolf: (00:28)
Thank you all for joining me. Today, 24 counties moved into the yellow phase of reopening Pennsylvania. This plan prioritizes the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians by using a combination of factors to gauge how much movement a location can tolerate before the 2019 novel coronavirus becomes a threat. And I’d like to emphasize that this plan, this reopening plan, is not a one-way route. We are closely monitoring the 24 counties in the yellow phase, and we will reimpose restrictions if danger arises. We’re also watching other counties, and are moving them into the yellow phase as soon as we can. So on May 15th, 13 more counties will move to the yellow phase. Those counties are Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland. As with the 24 counties that entered the yellow phase today, these 13 counties will see an increasing number of businesses and activities reopened. However, residents should be mindful that yellow still means caution. Every contact between two people is a new link in the chain of potential transmission. And if the new case count begins to climb in one area, restrictions will need to be imposed to prevent local medical facilities from becoming overwhelmed.

Tom Wolf: (01:52)
Meanwhile, we’re also looking at nearby counties. And if current trends continue, they should be moving to yellow very soon as well. So Pennsylvanians should continue to make good choices. If you have the choice, go to fewer stores to eliminate the number of store employees you contact. If you have the choice, call or video chat your friends and family instead of risking transmitting the virus. If you have the choice, exercise in a quiet neighborhood instead of a crowded park. If you have the choice, telework instead of potentially transmitting the virus to your colleagues. And this isn’t just for the yellow-phase counties. Residents of counties that are still in the red phase can also make choices that contribute to lowering the case count. And that will help push the county toward reopening more quickly.

Tom Wolf: (02:42)
Last evening, Dr. Levine and I signed orders extending the stay-at-home order in those counties that remain in the red phase, and an order for those moving to yellow today, on May 15th, and other days in the coming weeks. We have provided additional guidance for businesses, including childcare centers, and an FAQ sheet to help answer questions for those transitioning to the yellow phase of reopening. Ultimately, though, it will be up to each of us individually to make decisions that help all of us get through this crisis as safely and efficiently as possible.

Tom Wolf: (03:18)
Pennsylvanians have done a great job so far at choosing activities that reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19, and I am optimistic that we will continue on that path. So thank you again. Thank you all for your hard work.

Tom Wolf: (03:33)
Now I’m going to turn things over to Dr. Levine for her daily update. Dr. Levine.

Dr. Rachel Levine: (03:45)
Thank you, Governor, and here is our latest update on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. As of 12:00 a.m. this morning, we have 1,323 new cases of COVID-19. This brings our statewide total to 54,238 Pennsylvanians who have tested positive for COVID-19 in all 67 counties. This includes 3,553 positive cases in healthcare workers. This includes 2,122 positive cases in workers within the food industry, and 127 facilities statewide. And it includes 10, 919 positive cases among residents of 522 long-term care living facilities, which include nursing homes and personal care homes.

Dr. Rachel Levine: (04:44)
Tragically, we now have a statewide total of 3,616 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and passed away. To date, all deaths have been among adults. The next phase of reopening also impacts dental providers. This afternoon we have released guidelines for dental healthcare providers to provide care to patients statewide. This is statewide guidance. Given the nature of how COVID-19 is transmitted, extreme care and caution must be used in treating patients in the dental setting. These guidelines are designed to allow access to this important healthcare while ensuring that the patient and the dental team, the entire dental team, are protected while performing the treatment. Providers may perform non-aerosolizing, non-urgent, and non-emergent care, only if proper personal protective equipment per OSHA guidance is available for the entire dental team. If infection control procedures outlined by the CDC and OSHA cannot be followed, then the procedure should not be done. This isn’t a return to routine dentistry, but a way to ensure that patients who need care can obtain it safely for both the patient and the entire dental team.

Dr. Rachel Levine: (06:17)
Now here are my daily reminders: Please wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. Please use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not with your hands. And try not to touch your face, especially after touching surfaces. Clean surfaces frequently. And if you have to go out for life-sustaining activities, please wear a mask if you’re going to come into contact with others.

Dr. Rachel Levine: (06:52)
If you have questions about your health, please contact your healthcare provider. And if you need mental health resources because you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “PA” to 741741, or call the statewide Support and Referral Helpline at 1-855-284-2494. Again, 1-855-284-2494. For the most reliable information related to Pennsylvania’s response, please visit our website at And what is always most important for Pennsylvanians to remember: stay calm, stay home, and stay safe.

Dr. Rachel Levine: (07:48)
And now the Governor and I are pleased to answer questions.

Speaker 1: (07:51)
Thank you, Secretary. Our first question today is from WPXI: U.S. Representative Conor Lamb is calling for an investigation of the management of Brighton Rehab, and the state’s response in overseeing the facility. What is your response, and will you send the National Guard?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (08:08)
Well, so the situation at that nursing home has been very challenging, as it has been in over 500 nursing homes and personal care homes throughout the state. And we are doing everything we can to try to help the patients and the staff at that facility. We have spoken with the Congressman and understand his concerns of course, for a facility in his district, and the residents and staff in his district. We had put in what we call a temporary manager… so this was voluntary… on behalf of the facility. They’re calling it a consultant. It’s a little matter of semantics. But we are actually going to be placing in a state-chosen and state-funded temporary manager for that facility presently.

Interviewer: (09:03)
From 6abc. Is the state backing away from the guidelines of 50 cases per 100,000 and what is going to ultimately determine if Philadelphia moves into the next phase?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (09:12)
Well, so we haven’t backed away for that metric, but because it’s something quantitative and something numerical, I know the people have really latched onto that as the only factor in terms of determining which counties go from red to yellow. It is not. It is one numerical factor, a quantitative factor that we’ve been looking at. There are other data that we’ve been looking at, including the modeling from Carnegie Mellon University and other types of modeling that we have seen. And then we are looking at the stability of the healthcare system in terms of taking care of patients.

Dr. Rachel Levine: (09:44)
And of course, our ability to do the laboratory testing that is necessary, as well as then the contact tracing. So there are quantitative factors and qualitative or subjective factors in determining that. Now actually, our team has started discussions with the Health Commissioner of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s staff in terms of what type of parameters would be necessary, in addition to metrics, for Philadelphia and the Southeast, when it’s ready, to be able to go from red to yellow and those discussions will continue.

Interviewer: (10:15)
From Fox 56. Does the data support keeping rural counties, like Wyoming County, in the red phase another month? There are less than 30 cases with a 20,000 per person population. Why would they be in red for another month?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (10:29)
Well, we don’t know exactly how long specific counties will be in the red and we’re going to be actually looking on a regular basis, and day-by-day, and week-by-week at all of the different data that we’ve been discussing to see when it is right for certain areas and counties to go from red to yellow.

Interviewer: (10:49)
From WGAL. Can you talk more about how childcare centers in the yellow zone can function following CDC guidelines regarding masks and social distancing?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (10:59)
All of that information is on the frequently asked question guidance that is being published today.

Interviewer: (11:05)
And also from WGAL. How did you come up with gatherings of no more than 25 people?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (11:11)
So, we discussed this with our epidemiology team and looked at the different guidances that were out there and felt this was the most appropriate guidance.

Interviewer: (11:20)
From the Philadelphia Inquirer. Chester County today became the first county in Pennsylvania to undertake antibody testing for frontline workers. County officials said they were ready to implement this testing a month ago, but the Health Department took too long to grant them permission. Can you explain the process for approving antibody testing and why it took a month for Chester County to get the green light?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (11:40)
Well, there are a number of different laboratories that have started antibody testing. I know that Quest has and I know that a number of different hospitals and healthcare systems. This has had to do, in terms of laboratory testing, who would do the testing and where the representatives of FDA for approving testing facilities in Pennsylvania, and it went through that process.

Interviewer: (12:03)
And then the followup is, how reliable are the antibody tests that they’re doing?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (12:08)
Well, I don’t know granular detail about their test. So it is very important for antibody tests to be reliable, to have good sensitivity and specificity, and for antibody tests to have been evaluated and approved by the FDA. There have been many different antibody tests that have come into the market and we want to make sure that everybody is using the best test. And then there’s the question of what exactly antibodies mean. They certainly mean that someone has had COVID-19. What we do not know is how protective those antibodies are yet from contracting another case of the virus and then how long lived they are. There is recent data coming out about that every day and so we are confident that as time goes by we’ll learn more about the utility of those tests and exactly how they should be used.

Interviewer: (12:59)
Our next questions are for the Governor. Governor, from Fox 56. Why the decision to push the state home order until June 4th? Why not just extend it on a week-by-week basis?

Tom Wolf: (13:16)
We thought that another month would make the most sense.

Interviewer: (13:22)
And also as a followup to that, from ABC27. Is it based on the metric of 50 cases per less than 100,000 people? And what if that’s achieved before June 4th?

Tom Wolf: (13:35)
Well, as the secretary said, we’re not looking at just one variable. I think people keep coming back to the 50 per 100,000. We’re looking at a whole host of things. And again, what we’re trying to do with all the data we have is figure out the most likely way to keep people safe. We’ve never been through this before. I’ve never been through this before, and I don’t think most Pennsylvania’s have been through anything like this before. But I think we’re united in wanting to keep people safe.

Tom Wolf: (14:04)
So we’re looking at all the data we have, including the number of cases. We’re looking at how that trajectory is changing over time and all those things go into … Those and a lot of other things go into our decision as to whether we think things are ready to reopen. The stay-at-home order is for another month in those areas that have not moved to yellow. And again, we’re just making the best judgment we can to keep people safe.

Interviewer: (14:37)
Questions about elections from WGAL and WNEP. By extending stay-at-home until June 4th, will there be special waivers for primary elections if some counties are still in the red?

Tom Wolf: (14:48)
Yeah. Well first, two things. First of all, elections are considered essential, so that’s just like going to the grocery store or to the pharmacy. But we are in Pennsylvania lucky that we have the ability to vote by mail. You can get a no excuse, absentee ballot. We’ve had over a million applications for that already. And so, the safest way to vote on June 2nd is to do it by mail and you can do that by going online and getting your absentee ballot mailed to and you can mail it back in. If you don’t want to do that, if you still want to go to vote in person at the polling place on June 2nd, you can do that.

Interviewer: (15:29)
From WGAL. Why is real estate still closed when other states have reopened it?

Tom Wolf: (15:35)
Actually, we’ve given guidelines that certain aspects of the real estate business are open. Again, when it comes to this business, like any others, we’re trying to keep people from congregating, keep down the amount of opportunity for this virus to spread. This is the enemy, the virus, not regulations, not the government. It’s the virus and all of us are working together. I think most Pennsylvanians, if not all Pennsylvanians want the same thing and that is to stay safe. The fewer chances we give people or we take to congregate for whatever reason, the sooner we’re going to defeat this virus

Interviewer: (16:13)
From WBRE. We’re hearing from a number of frustrated businesses in the area, including restaurants. Some are saying they plan to open despite state orders for red phase counties. What is your response to those businesses?

Tom Wolf: (16:26)
Well, first of all, I understand the frustration. As a former business owner, I would share that frustration. But again, the frustration has to be directed at the real enemy here. It’s the virus. It’s not the regulation. And anything we do to bring people together, whether it’s employees, or customers, or both, we’re making it easier for that virus to actually attack and infect people and we’re jeopardizing their health. Ultimately, that’s what our individual decisions have to come down to.

Tom Wolf: (16:59)
We don’t want to have the health and welfare on our hands and jeopardize that by making bad decisions. So in the end, it’s not about regulations. It’s not about what you decide to do or what you’d like to do. I would like to be open all across Pennsylvania. I would like to go back to where we were in January. We can’t, we have this virus that’s standing between us and that preferred outcome. So anything we do that jeopardizes anybody’s life, that makes it easier for that virus to spread, that’s not going to be helpful regardless of what the regulations say.

Interviewer: (17:36)
Also from WBRE, if business continued to defy orders, what fines or criminal penalties could they face and who would enforce them?

Tom Wolf: (17:43)
Well, again, you get back to enforcement. The real enforcement here is, do we want to jeopardize the lives of people we care about? Our customers, our employees, our family members? And I think the answer to that is overwhelmingly, no. We don’t want to do that. Yeah, there are enforcement mechanisms. I think the state police have actually issued a-

Tom Wolf: (18:03)
… number of warnings, but for the most part… And employees obviously have the ability to do the same things they could before this virus inserted itself into our lives, and that is go to the department of labor and industry, the department of state, and register, file a complaint.

Tom Wolf: (18:25)
But ultimately, the person making a decision, the business owner has to decide whether she or he wants to have the lives of those workers, the lives of those family members, the lives of those customers on their hands.

Interviewer: (18:38)
We have several outlets with questions regarding the reopening of Beaver County, Pittsburgh Business Times, the Beaver County Times, WESA, KDKA, WPXI, and WTAE. Beaver County officials said that they’re upset about the way they’ve been treated and that they shouldn’t be singled out. They also say that the state has discounted that most of the cases and deaths have been in one nursing home. What do you say to their concerns, and what will the county have to do to be able to move from red to yellow?

Tom Wolf: (19:07)
Yeah, as I said in my comments, we have a number of counties in neighboring areas that we’re looking at and will keep tabs on and hope to make a decision very, very soon. But again, what we’re trying to do here is take the information we have and try to anticipate what is going to keep people safe. And if we have any concerns, we’re going to maybe go slower on the reopening. But I think counties all across Pennsylvania, every county wants to reopen as quickly as possible. It is frustrating to be closed down, but again, the remedy is not to ignore the fact that this virus is out there. The remedy is not to ignore the fact that we need to take what information we have and do everything we can to keep people safe. The remedy is to say, let’s do our best to get through this as quickly as possible, as safely as possible, so that we can reopen as quickly as possible.

Interviewer: (20:05)
From WESA, officials in Beaver County say they will act as if they are in the yellow phase, and that the DA will not enforce the business shut down. What is your response?

Tom Wolf: (20:16)
Well, again, I think you’re jeopardizing lives. We have information. I think we’ve shared it as much as we possibly can with everybody, in terms of what we’ve based our decision on. And in our opinion, the time is not right. I think it’s soon in Beaver County’s case, but it’s not right today to announce that they’re ready to reopen. So if they go ahead and do that, they’re taking a chance. Taking a chance with the lives of the residents, the citizens of Beaver County, and I think I’d be a little careful in doing that.

Interviewer: (20:50)
From 6abc and the Philadelphia Inquirer, do you have any response to the economic reopening protests in Philadelphia today? Were any of the Coronavirus outbreaks or cases linked to the reopening rally in Harrisburg last month? So let’s start with the reopening protest in Philadelphia today, that many small business owners are saying that the restrictions are too stringent. Are you looking to adjust a plan where places like barber shops and hairdressers can open sooner in the red zones?

Tom Wolf: (21:23)
No, we’re not looking at that plan. And again, I understand the frustration. I share that frustration. This virus is a frustrating virus. It’s sneaky and it’s deadly and it’s very contagious. And so we can’t let that frustration let us ignore the fact that this virus is out there, and that this virus does very well when we do certain things, when we come into close contact with others, when we bring people together. So I share the frustration, but the solution and the way to resolve that frustration is not by putting people in harm’s way. It’s by keeping people safe as we possibly can, so that we can reopen as quickly as we can.

Interviewer: (22:05)
From WTAE, can you provide specific information about what rules customers must live by upon entering retail businesses and yellow zones, and will there be limits on how many people can go inside?

Tom Wolf: (22:19)
Yeah, no, I can’t remember all the different things that go into the guidelines. As I said in my presentation, we’ve sent out a FAQ sheet of frequently asked questions, and the hope is that all those questions can be answered specifically and accurately on those FAQ sheets.

Interviewer: (22:37)
And then from ABC27, you signed an executive order this week giving liability protection to healthcare workers during coronavirus pandemic. You did not offer similar protection to facilities like hospitals and nursing homes. Why not? And do you suspect there’s possible wrongdoing, and therefore you want to keep the option open for the people who may have been harmed to sue?

Tom Wolf: (22:58)
No. The executive order was really aimed at… We have brought a lot of people back, including out of retirement, into becoming frontline healthcare workers to address the needs of this coronavirus pandemic. And I wanted to bring some limited protections to those folks. Again, if they are doing things that are foolish, they are not immune from prosecution. So I wanted to specifically protect those folks. And that was the objective of the executive order.

Interviewer: (23:29)
Our next questions are for the secretary. Secretary, from Spotlight PA, new data released today from the CDC shows that Pennsylvania has reported only about half of its confirmed COVID-19 deaths up to the CDC. We’ve heard a lot about data reconciliation issues within Pennsylvania, but what is causing this specific delay?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (23:56)
So I didn’t see that from the CDC. So we’ll make sure that our staff look at that really closely and make sure that all our data is reported to the CDC.

Interviewer: (24:06)
From WKOK, are today’s reported increases in cases and deaths due to the data dump?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (24:12)
Well, so yes. So two things. First is we did get another data dump, so to speak, from LabCorp, in terms of test results. So that always influences our specific numbers. But also, as I’ve mentioned before, we’re doing an in depth reconciliation with Philadelphia Health Department in terms of cases and deaths. And so that has influenced our numbers over the last number of days. I’ve discussed this with our team and they’ve discussed it with Philadelphia. We’re going to do everything we can to reconcile that data as fast as we can. But some of that reconciliation will go on for at least another week. And so we can expect some influence in terms of our numbers.

Interviewer: (24:51)
Can the department, this is from Capital Wire, can the department indicate how long the tests reported on Thursday and Friday were collected? How long ago, and how that will compare to days we didn’t get a data dump from the laboratories conducting tests.

Dr. Rachel Levine: (25:04)
So I don’t know specifically from LabCorp, but I know in terms of Philadelphia, it’s been over about two weeks. I will have to look and see, in terms of sort of when some of those tests from LabCorp were obtained, when the laboratories were obtained, but at least several days, if not a week or more.

Interviewer: (25:21)
From PennLive, yesterday’s Senate hearing brought to light the concerns of nursing homes struggling to get enough test kits for their staff and residents. Meanwhile, we see inmates in County and state prisons being tested. Which one of these is given priority in the distribution of test kits?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (25:37)
Well, so we really have, in terms of county prisons, very little to do in terms of how they’re determining how tests will be done. We are absolutely prioritizing nursing homes and longterm care living facilities. And any symptomatic patients in those facilities are being tested. Any symptomatic patient and any symptomatic staff member are being tested immediately, and there is no shortage in terms of getting tests. What’s being referenced is the idea of doing surveillance testing and testing everybody in a specific facility. We have heard that recommendation. We’re going to be checking with some other states. We’ve heard that they have discussed doing that. They actually haven’t done it yet, but they’ve discussed doing that, and we’re discussing now about how we might be able to do that in the best way from a public health perspective.

Interviewer: (26:28)
From WLVR, last Friday, there were roughly 2300 deaths reported. Today, more than 3600. That’s more of a third of all deaths in the state reported in a week’s time. You’ve said this week’s high numbers are due to a backlog in reporting. Do you suspect that there’s many more people than we have realized that have died from the virus? And do you expect the number to continue to get much higher in the coming weeks?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (26:54)
As I just previously said, we’re going to be doing that reconciliation with Philadelphia, as well as our two data systems over the next week or so. And so there might be-

Dr. Rachel Levine: (27:03)
… as well as our two data systems over the next week or so, and so there might be some fluctuations in data. But when that is complete and we have both the manual and an IT fix to those, then there’ll be more consistent data reporting for deaths.

Interviewer: (27:14)
From the Philadelphia Inquirer, were any coronavirus cases or outbreaks linked to the re-opening rally in Harrisburg last month?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (27:21)
We’re not aware of that, but it’s very possible. As I said at the time, I was very concerned about the individuals that were participating in that rally that were not exercising the preventative factors that we’ve discussed, the social distancing, not wearing masks, having personal contact, shaking hands, et cetera. I had concerns since they were from throughout the commonwealth and actually a number of many people from other out of state that participating that they could transmit the virus. We don’t know how many people have contracted the virus from that event. Of course, that was a couple of weeks ago. The incubation periods 5 up to 14 days, might take a while to know, and, well, that will depend upon them telling us, of course, that they participated in the rally.

Interviewer: (28:07)
From the Scranton Times Tribune, US Representative Matt Cartwright said today that he sent a letter to the Department of Health to come up with ans implement a plan that ensures that hospital workers get no fewer than one n95 mask per day. Is that something the Department of Health can do?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (28:23)
I’m not aware of the letter, but we’ll be checking with that. We have been pushing out PPE to hospitals and health systems. There are no hospitals or health systems that are very short that we know of, including of n95 masks. In fact, we just contacted Temple and Albert Einstein who’ve been significantly affected by the virus in Philadelphia. They say that they’re fine in terms of n95 masks and other personal protective equipment, but we’ll make sure that we do everything we can to protect our healthcare workers.

Interviewer: (28:55)
Also from the Scranton Times Tribune, a lot of people in the Northeast are wondering when will we get to yellow? Can you characterize what the Northeast numbers look like and give us some ideas? It looks like it could be quite some time.

Dr. Rachel Levine: (29:07)
Well, there is still significant community transmission of COVID-19 in the southeast part of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and the suburban counties and in Northeast Pennsylvania, particularly Lehigh County, Luzerne County, North Hampton County, et cetera. We’re going to do everything we can to try to prevent that. It is really critical that people follow the governor’s prevention, mitigation efforts and orders to stay at home as much as possible. Only go out for life-sustaining activities such as going to the grocery store, et cetera, that hand washing is very vigorous. Everything we talk about every day. Wearing a mask, if you have to go out, it is critical to prevent the spread of this virus that people do that. We’re going to be watching the data really, really carefully. We had some discussions today with Southeastern Pennsylvania about what opening plans might look like from red to yellow. We’re pleased to discuss that with our colleagues in the Northeast as well. Hard for me to give you a timeline, but we’re going to be having those discussions all the time.

Interviewer: (30:15)
ABC-27 and the York Daily Record have a question about the Dauphin County Prison. You said tests were only valid for a few days, but Dauphin County Prison just tested its entire population. Was that a smart move to protect everyone and how should other large facilities go about testing and slowing the spread?

Dr. Rachel Levine: (30:33)
I don’t really have any granular detail about what Dauphin County Prison does. Of course, they are responsible to Dauphin County and aren’t under the specific regulations of the Department of Corrections. But that’s an interesting way of doing testing. Is it valid or invalid? It’s different to do that type of population-based testing. It certainly will diagnose those that are asymptomatic, but it doesn’t mean that if you’re negative, if you get tested today and you’re negative that you’re negative tomorrow. I think that in the future we might consider those type of more population-based testings, and so it would be interesting to see what the results are and what they do with those results.

Interviewer: (31:15)
Thank you, Secretary. Governor, some questions for you.

Interviewer: (31:23)
From Your Content, have you or the lieutenant governor been tested for the virus and what’s your favorite non-work-related thing to do during quarantine to keep busy or maintain mental and physical health?

Tom Wolf: (31:37)
I have not been tested and I enjoy reading books.

Interviewer: (31:40)
Also from Your Content, thinking back to when you were first briefed on the coronavirus situation to now, do you feel a sense of relief with the progress thus far? Are the numbers of positive cases and deaths lower than initially projected?

Tom Wolf: (31:54)
The number of deaths are lower than initially projected, but I don’t have any satisfaction from that. It’s a stressful time for everybody in Pennsylvania, including me. We’re all trying to do the best we can given the information we have in this very new territory and fighting this very new fight. We’re dealing with a lot of unknowns, a lot of stress, and I wouldn’t say satisfaction is one of the things I’m feeling right now.

Interviewer: (32:30)
From Penn Live, does the executive order you signed yesterday providing eviction and foreclosure protection until July 10th apply to commercial tenants? In other words, could evictions for commercial lessees start soon if the courts reopen before then?

Tom Wolf: (32:45)
I think the attorney general answered that same question yesterday, and his answer was no. This eviction executive order was focused on residences and renters but that there are all kinds of things that the banks have agreed to do to put off loan payments and things like that for landlords of commercial properties that should make commercial landlords a little more receptive to the idea of renegotiating or extending lease payments and lease terms.

Interviewer: (33:24)
Our last questions are from Spotlight PA. First, do businesses that reopen in the yellow zone have to screen employee temperatures?

Tom Wolf: (33:32)
Again, I forget the all the different guidelines. I think the frequently asked questions would be the best way to answer that. Again, what we’re trying to do and what every business owner should do is say, “What can I do that best protects my workers and my customers?” To a certain extent that might mean some testing, it might mean surveys, it might mean things like wearing masks, practicing social distance. All the things that you can think of doing to keep your employees and customers safe are the things that you ought to do and that every business owner should want to do right from the start.

Interviewer: (34:05)
Then from Spotlight PA, our last question, and Penn Capital-Star, about the subpoena order, will you comply with the deadline today? If not, why and under what authority?

Tom Wolf: (34:16)
Yeah. We’ll be responding with a letter to the Senate today.

Interviewer: (34:21)
Thank you, Governor. That is all the questions we are able to take for today. For any reporters whose questions we were not able to get to, we will respond within the next 24 hours. Our next press briefing will be on Monday. There will be no briefing Saturday or Sunday.

Interviewer: (34:38)
Thank you so much, Governor. Thank you, Secretary. Thank you.

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