‘We’re making a killing, and we’re grateful for it…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) After shuttering much of his state’s business during the coronavirus panic, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf was awarded a special honor at an Ohio restaurant located a mile from the state line.
Wolf was named Breakwall BBQ’s “employee of the month” for his role in broadening the booming smokehouse’s customer base.
“A lot of people from Pennsylvania who want to get out of their houses come and visit us,” said the restaurant’s co-owner, Mike Morgan. “It’s just a short little drive down Route 5.”
Wolf’s draconian lockdown policies persist even as governors across the country—including Ohio Republican Mike DeWine—have reopened their states.
Now, pent-up Pennsylvanians have nowhere else to go but into the arms of Ohio’s border counties.
Breakwall BBQ and other Ohio businesses are going gangbusters while the economy in nearby Erie, Pennsylvania, remains depressed and locked down.
“We’ve broken all kinds of sales records and we know that a big chunk of it is that Pennsylvania is shut down,” Morgan said.
He estimated that two-thirds of his current customers are border-jumpers.
“We’re making a killing, and we’re grateful for it,” he said. “I wish they could too. People are ready to get out of their houses.”
The media attention from the restaurant’s humorous PR stunt might have helped bring even more business at Wolf’s expense.
However, the phenomenon isn’t new.
Thousands upon thousands of Pennsylvania residents were rushing back and forth from Ohio to buy liquor during the height of the pandemic scare.
The spillover was so overwhelming that DeWine issued an April executive order to limit liquor purchases to Ohio residents.
“It’s mind-boggling,” a store manager in a small town five minutes from the Ohio–Pennsylvania border told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Ninety-five percent of our customers are from Pennsylvania.”
Morgan said he’s grateful for the boom times, but also hates seeing other businesses suffer.
“Yes, we’re busier than normal, but we do well anyway,” he said. “I want them people over there to open up and feed their families. I feel for the waitresses. They gotta feed their kids.”
Wolf shows no signs of easing his grip over the battleground state’s economy. He’s currently facing a lawsuit from Pennsylvania’s General Assembly challenging his authority to keep the state shut down. Wolf has vowed to fight it.