With a miniature American flag resting on his shoulder, Phil Stoltzfus stood shaded beneath a tree outside Bright’s Restaurant in Ephrata and explained what Reopen PA, the grassroots movement to bring Pennsylvanians out of a monthslong shutdown, means to him.
“A full reopening,” he said, removing a red “Trump 2020” hat to reveal his long, thin hair. “And I can get my haircut, because I haven’t had a haircut in three months.”
Owner of a carpet-cleaning business, Stoltzfus, 62, of Brownstown, was one of about 100 people to rally Saturday morning in Ephrata in support of reopening businesses and bringing people back to work despite the risk of the coronavirus.
Dozens rallied along State Street, calling out to honking drivers and waving signs with messages like, “Let's social distance Governor Wolf from PA!” and “The new normal is another name for socialism.” Meanwhile, a band played patriotic music, people registered to vote and attendees took photos in front of a giant, President Donald Trump-themed RV.
More than two-thirds of Pennsylvania counties are in the green phase, the least restrictive phase of the governor’s reopening plan. Lancaster County and essentially all of southeast Pennsylvania remain in the yellow phase, meaning gatherings of more than 25 people, indoor dining and recreation, and personal care services are still prohibited.
Many have grown tired of the governor’s restrictions, including Republican state lawmakers. They’re poised to fight over Wolf's disaster declaration in court after both the state House and Senate passed a resuolution nullifying the governor’s declaration.
State Rep. David Zimmerman, of East Earl, criticized Wolf's decision-making at Saturday’s rally, saying, “One person doing all of that by himself isn’t fair to all of us.” Zimmerman said he’s confident the battle over the governor’s emergency declaration will be resolved in the GOP’s favor sometime next week, paving the way for the state’s full reopening.
That would be good news for Brianna Scheidt, who said she’s been “waiting and waiting” to get back to her job in retail at Sight & Sound Theatres.
“We’re just ready. We’re ready to reopen,” Scheidt, 23, of Ephrata, said. “And it needs to happen as soon as possible.”