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It’s time to treat us like adults

Now that the “donkey” in the governor’s office has vetoed a pair of measures to open up — with limitations — more segments of the state’s economy, state senators and representatives of both parties should immediately vote overwhelmingly to override the vetoes.

Gov. Tom Wolf has, yet again, stubbornly resisted many sensible compromises that could allow more businesses to operate as long as they follow federal guidelines, much as they are allowed to in other states.

He did release guidance that will allow real estate transactions to begin in a more normal manner, but Pennsylvania needs to go further.

We do thank the governor for moving most area counties to yellow status, permitting more businesses to open, but the state needs to go further.

Bills rejected by the governor would have allowed vehicle dealers, lawn and garden centers, cosmetology salons, barber shops, messenger and agent services, animal grooming services, manufacturing operations and legal services to resume if they comply with federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Department of Health safety guidelines.

We challenge anyone to explain how allowing customers to go to these businesses poses any more of a danger than allowing those same people to go to a big-box retailer.

An argument could be made that going to a mass retailer, which could have thousands or tens of thousands of visitors per day, poses a greater danger — despite the store’s best efforts — to someone inadvertently coming in contact with the coronavirus.

The retailers that are open are taking incredible efforts to safeguard employees and customers. So if small, independent businesses are willing to take similar steps, why not allow them to open?

We believe these businesses, which have been closed far too long, would far exceed state and federal guidelines because to survive they have to persuade their customers that it is safe to come back. The reaction to even one instance of coronavirus exposure could be a death knell because of the bad publicity.

Admittedly, not all businesses — no matter how much they’re hurting economically — can be given the green light to operate as they did last year.

While we hope that eventually will be the case, coronavirus remains a potent and potentially deadly threat, especially for vulnerable groups. And those people need to think carefully and weigh the risks.

But aren’t nearly all of us doing that everyday?

It’s been two months since you could get a haircut, or walk into an auto dealership, or patronize your favorite independent garden center. It’s time to treat Pennsylvanians like adults and give them the option to decide for themselves and their children.

Fortunately, legislative Republicans and some — but not enough — Democrats have come to their senses on this matter. Now they must unite to override the vetoes and make sure their colleagues who opposed this effort are held accountable.

It’s time to allow more of Pennsylvania to open, even if it means dragging a cantankerous mule with us.

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