Philadelphia, PA – May 22, 2020 – Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) today issued the following statement in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s announcement that the Southeastern Pennsylvania counties, including Philadelphia, will move to the “yellow” reopening phase by June 5:
For the last two months, Philadelphians have stayed at home, practiced social distancing, and now most are wearing masks when they go outside. Because our residents have responded, Philadelphia is slowly flattening the curve of COVID-19. However, this is not the time to ease up.
Governor Wolf’s announcement today – that Philadelphia will move to the “yellow” phase of reopening on June 5th, allowing parts of our economy to restart – is welcome news. We all want Philadelphia to reopen, and workers to get back to their jobs and livelihoods.
But we must not forget the harsh, disparate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting on communities of color in Philadelphia and around the country. In our city, people of color comprise 49 percent of the population, yet public health data suggests that people of color make up 58 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia.
Historic inequities in health care, chronic health problems caused by these inequalities, lack of access to healthy food and environmentally-safe housing, and the fact that many minority residents work in forward-facing essential jobs (bus drivers, grocery clerks, health care and sanitation workers) and cannot work from home during the pandemic, are all contributing factors to COVID-19’s disparate impact.
As the talk and action now turn towards re-opening, we must remain focused and vigilant about this disparity, and not allow it to worsen and further harm our residents. We all want Philadelphia to re-open, but we must do so safely, equitably and responsibly, and protect every Philadelphian as we do so.