WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, was in Wilkes-Barre Thursday afternoon talking with business and community leaders about the reopening of the country.
Secretary Ross says he believes the U.S. economy will get back to where it was before the pandemic began, and he came to Wilkes-Barre to get input and opinions on how to make that happen sooner rather than later.
“Well, I’m very optimistic that we will have a very sharp recovery,” Ross told Eyewitness News.
Ross’s first stop was Rodano’s Restaurant on Public Square where he asked the owner, Frank Rodano, for advice on how best to get the nation’s economy moving forward.
“We have to play a part in this and still remain safe so this thing would be over and we don’t have to deal with this again as individuals and business owners. I think that’s important going forward,” Rodano said.
Business leaders also wanted to talk to Ross about what they see as a big step in reopening the economy.
“The next question is how are we going to bring back the workforce? How we are going to reduce unemployment? Projects like NEPA Works look at ways we can re-skill and retrain our workforce,” Wico Van Genderen, President & CEO Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce said.
Eyewitness News spoke with Ross about what he expects to happen with the economy and why it will happen.
“The consumers are tired of being cooped up tired, tired they couldn’t enjoy life so I feel pretty confident we’ll have a consumer-driven recovery and a quick one,” Ross said.
Ross, who also held a round table discussion with local lawmakers and business leaders at the Westmoreland Club, says the COVID-19 stimulus package-will help kick start the nations recovery.,
“Because of the $1,200 one-time payment and because of the $600 supplement to unemployment, consumers are in pretty good shape,” Ross said.
Ross says he will take the information heard in Wilkes-Barre and try to incorporate it into his economic policies moving into the post COVID-19 world.
Ross will be making stops across Pennsylvania in the coming weeks including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.