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State restrictions lifting, funding options being considered

By Rep. Anita Kulik

Harrisburg Update

Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement that COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted on May 31 brings us to the “back to normal” place we are all so very ready to enter. With so many people choosing to be vaccinated, those who have felt trepidation about going out in public can finally feel comfortable.

Businesses can feel more reassured they will not bring on the ire of the health department for being open. The mask mandate will remain until 70% of adult Pennsylvanians are vaccinated.

This is going to be a difficult number to reach, as many still feel uneasy about getting vaccinated or have concerns about vaccination.

The governor’s mask mandate aligns with the federal guidelines for the country on the whole, but it is hoped this lofty number of 70% can be reached. Encouraging your family and friends to get the vaccine is a great thing, while understanding in the end each citizen must make a decision for their own best interest.

Last week I attended an outdoor event with live music. Safety measures were still enforced at the business, but it was so nice to be around people and listen to live music again. I know we are all looking forward to all the fun the summer months offer. Little League and softball, as well as basketball and outdoor hockey, are being enjoyed again by our children and parents. Graduations and proms are planned, as well as the return of some of the Memorial Day celebrations we are accustomed to in our district.

Thank you to everyone in our district for their patience and genuine understanding of the impact this pandemic had and is having on all of us. We have never faced anything like this and the learning curve was a lot to handle.

We cannot thank all the people who risked their own health for the good of their communities enough.

Healthcare workers, first responders, law enforcement, store workers, food service workers, business owners and delivery persons all stepped up to keep us healthy, fed and well-supplied.

We could not have survived this without all these good and hardworking people.

They are the heroes we needed in this unnerving time.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement that COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted on May 31 brings us to the “back to normal” place we are all so very ready to enter.

We continue to work in Harrisburg to see federal government funding going where it is most needed and to those in most need, including all the small business owners who took the brunt of the shutdowns, our health care workers and those who have been unemployed.

Legislators will also be looking at school funding and workforce development. While both sides of the aisle have their own ideas about how the money should be used, we hope we can work together to pass a budget benefiting all Pennsylvanians. This is the time to be contacting your legislators with your concerns, especially if you are a business owner or have been unemployed because of the pandemic.

Some of the legislation to address pandemic-specific issues is also being reviewed.

Bills set to expire at the end of the emergency declaration are being reviewed as some of the changes may be best made permanent.

I took part in the recent meeting of the Liquor Control Committee, where one such issue was made part of a new bill. Gratefully, we no longer must order food in order to enjoy a drink, and we can sit at bars again. But during the pandemic, bars and alcohol sales were a particular target for shutdowns. Last year, in an effort to help bars and restaurants, legislation was enacted to allow the sale of “to-go” mixed drinks.

The proposed bill would amend the liquor code to allow a restaurant or hotel liquor licensee to sell prepared beverages and mixed drinks for off-premises consumption where meals are prepared for pick-up on a permanent basis.

Please remember there are important questions on the primary ballot, as well as important judicial and local elections. Voting is the greatest chance we have as citizens to have our voices heard.


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