Zoos, pet groomers and garden centers: House Republicans push for more businesses to reopen

Written by on April 29, 2020

Zoos, pet groomers and garden centers: House Republicans push for more businesses to reopen

By Ed Mahon, PA Post

April 29, 2020

The House State Government Committee meets on April 27, 2020. (Ed Mahon/PA Post)

As lawmakers returned to Harrisburg on Monday, state Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Philadelphia) described what seemed like a new ritual.

“It’s another Monday, and it’s another end-the-shutdown bill,” Boyle said. “Ultimately, I oppose this end-the-shutdown bill like I’ve opposed all the other end-the-shutdown bills.”

Boyle made the comments as the House State Government Committee considered a bill that would allow accredited zoos to reopen. The measure passed along party lines.

“I think it would be wonderful if they could allow a limited number of people to get out and recreate, and go see the zoo, and be outside in the fresh air,” said state Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming/Union) chairman of the House State Government Committee.

Separately, the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee passed two other bills to reopen parts of the state’s economy. Those bills picked up more Democratic votes than the zoo one.

One would allow garden and law centers to reopen. Three Democrats voted in favor.

Another would allow animal grooming services to reopen. One Democrat voted in favor of that.

State Rep. Marci Mustello (R-Butler), former executive director of her county’s humane society, said pet grooming services can prevent injuries that would require a pet to go to the veterinarian.

“This bill is about preventing animal neglect. …Nails need trimmed. Fur needs cut,” she said

Gov. Tom Wolf, who has announced plans for a gradual lifting of restrictions beginning next month, opposes all three proposals.

“We are planning a measured and strategic approach to allowing Pennsylvanians to return to work safely to prevent a resurgence of the virus,” press secretary Lyndsay Kensinger said in a statement. “This must be done in the most effective, efficient, and risk-adverse method possible to balance our return to economic stability, while at the same time continuing to keep Pennsylvanians safe by controlling the spread of disease.”

All three bills require the Department of Community and Economic Development to issue waivers for activities in those businesses that can follow social distancing and mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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