Harrisburg, PA – As our counties prepare to move to green phase, we have some clarifications on the rules and guidelines for businesses that will be reopening.
The 17 counties moving to the green phase on May 29 are Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.
After a county transitions to the yellow phase, the PA Department of Health and other Pennsylvania agencies will closely monitor for increased risk, such as significant outbreaks. If overall risk remains mitigated for fourteen days, they will transition the county to the green phase.
The green phase eases most restrictions by lifting the stay at home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health.
While this phase will facilitate a return to a “new normal,” it will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.
Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
- Continued Telework Strongly Encouraged
- Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Updated Business and Building Safety Requirements
- All Businesses Operating at 50% Occupancy in the Yellow Phase May Increase to 75% Occupancy
- Child Care May Open Complying with Guidance
- Congregate Care Restrictions in Place
- Prison and Hospital Restrictions Determined by Individual Facilities
- Schools Subject to CDC and Commonwealth Guidance
- Large Recreational Gatherings Remain Restricted
- Restaurants and Bars Open at 50% Occupancy
- Personal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) Open at 50% Occupancy and by Appointment Only
- Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities, and Personal Care Services (such as gyms and spas) Open at 50% Occupancy with Appointments Strongly Encouraged
- All Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) Open at 50% Occupancy
- Construction Activity May Return to Full Capacity with Continued Implementation of Protocols
- All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning
- Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary
Harrisburg, PA – Furthering his plan for reopening Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf announced eight additional counties will move to yellow and 17 to green, effective at 12:01 a.m., May 29. All remaining counties in red are expected to move to yellow by June 5 at 12:01 a.m.
The counties moving to yellow on May 29 include Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill.
The 17 counties moving to green, also on May 29, include Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.
Counties that remain in red on May 29 and are expected to move to yellow by June 5 include Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.
“We know not only that we succeeded in slowing case growth, but that our actions, our collective decisions to stay at home and avoid social contact – we know that saved lives,” Gov. Wolf said. “My stay-at-home order did exactly what it was intended to do: It saved lives and it bought us valuable time.”
Gov. Wolf referred to a study by Drexel University that indicates that in Philadelphia alone, 60 days of staying at home resulted in more than 7,000 lives saved and prevented more than 68,000 people from needing hospitalization.
In deciding which counties to move to yellow, the state used risk-based metrics from Carnegie Mellon University combined with contact tracing and testing capability and a sustained reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations. While the 50 new cases per 100,000 population was considered, it did not weigh any more heavily than other factors.
Over the past two weeks:
- The state has seen sustained reductions in hospitalizations. From May 8 when the first counties moved to yellow to yesterday, the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized dropped by nearly one thousand – from 2,618 to 1,667.
- The number of COVID patients on ventilators shrank by about a third, from 505 to 347.
- New cases continue to decline: From May 8 to May 15, the state added 6,384 cases and from May 15 to 21, added 4,770.
- The current COVID-19 incidence rate in the state is 83.4 cases per 100,000 people. Two weeks ago, it was 113.6 per 100,000. Most other states are seeing their new case rate continue to increase or remain flat. Pennsylvania is one of just 19 states with new case-rate declines.
Counties that have been in the yellow phase for the requisite 14 days have been closely monitored for the risk associated with transitioning to the green phase.
In the green phase, we will continue to take precautions, including reducing building capacity, encouraging teleworking, limiting visitation in certain high-risk environments, and preventing large entertainment gatherings.
The guidelines for moving to green are available here, and include specifics for employers, large events, and social gatherings.
“We continue to increase testing every day and are continuing to build our contact tracing capacity, as well,” Gov. Wolf said. “We are able to do these things, to be successful, to reopen in this manner because of the Pennsylvanians who have made tremendous sacrifices since the virus emerged in our state,” Gov Wolf said. “Thank you.
“I want to remember and honor all of those who we lost and give solace to their family and loved ones. The last two months have been trying and they have tested each of us, and I want to thank and acknowledge all the people of our commonwealth who have been called upon to upend their lives to keep their neighbors, friends and family safe.”