A group of Valley citizens, business owners and furloughed employees joined hundreds of others in Harrisburg protesting Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown orders Monday.
Arden Steiner, owner of Affordable Fuels, in Middleburg, said Monday was a day for people to express their viewpoints about opening the state.
While the protest was taking place, Wolf announced the stay at home order was extended until May 8 but at that time some sectors of business would be reopening.
“I was grateful to the state representatives and state senators that took the time to speak to the crowd,” Steiner said. “While no one has the perfect answers and there are strong opinions on both sides, there needs to be a better balance to our economy and safety.”
Rob Nance, 56, of Northumberland, said he went to support Valley business owners.
“We went peacefully,” Nance said. “There certainly was a lot of patriotism at the capital today.”
Nance, a truck driver, said he is still working but feels for those who are suffering from the closures due to COVID-19.
“I am in support of everyone who is trying to go back to work,” Melissa McHale, 48, of Northumberland said.
Nance and Mchale decided to jump on their motorcycle and make the trip to Harrisburg even though it was 48 degrees.
“It’s a bit chilly but this is a good cause,” Nance said.
A group of individuals who made the trip from the Valley met at the former Kmart building before heading out.
“I want people to go back to work because they need to feed their families,” Susan Zimmerman, of Mifflinburg, said. “I want to support all of them.”
Brian White, of Brian White Construction in Sunbury, joined American Pro Construction to drive to the rally, because White said he hasn’t worked since March 19, other than for emergency jobs.
“I was impressed by the turnout,” White said. “But I’m disappointed in Gov. Wolf’s decision to extend the no-work order. We had jobs started all over,” he said. “There is nothing I can do. As a contractor, we live solely on the needs of others who want or need to upgrade to their homes or businesses.”
White said he has a sidewalk ripped out in Coal Township and the family can’t even get the job completed leaving a mess in front of their home.
“We need to be able to go back to work,” he said. “Everyone is suffering through this and we all know how to protect ourselves, the people we are working for and anyone who has employees.”