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Wolf renews coronavirus disaster declaration in Pennsylvania

The Associated Press
Gov. Tom Wolf speaks during his press conference at PA CareerLink in York Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Wolf was highlighting the importance of job-finding resources in light of the unemployment cause by the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. Bill Kalina photo

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday that he has renewed a 90-day disaster declaration, now for a second time, after he originally signed it in early March following the confirmation of the first positive cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania.

The original declaration was set to expire Tuesday, and the new declaration will last through late November, unless Wolf decides to end it.

“We are going to continue to combat the health and economic effects of COVID-19, and the renewal of my disaster declaration will provide us with resources and support needed for this effort," Wolf said in a statement.

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Under state law, an emergency disaster declaration gives governors the authority to issue or rescind executive orders and regulations, access stockpiles of emergency supplies and equipment and suspend laws or regulations that govern state agencies.

Executive orders have the force of law, under emergency disaster law. As part of it, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency has been able to assign missions to the National Guard, and it could in the future allow PEMA to rapidly deploy a vaccine, Wolf's office said.