HARRISBURG (WYTV) – On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf discussed his three-phase approach to reopening Pennsylvania amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The phases are divided into red, yellow and green. Wolf said county by county, the state will slowly move through these phases, tentatively starting May 8.
Regions with fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 residents can reopen many of their stores at that time.
Currently, Pennsylvania is in the red phase. Its purpose is to minimize the spread of COVID-19:
- All nonessential businesses are closed
- Restrictions for people in prisons and those living in facilities together
- Students are learning from home
- Most daycares are closed
- Stay-at-home orders in place
- Large gatherings prohibited
- Restaurants and bars limited to carryout and delivery only
- Only life-sustaining travel is encouraged
The next phase is yellow. Its purpose is to begin powering the economy back up while making sure the spread of the disease is contained as much as possible:
- If an employee can work from home, they should continue doing so
- Businesses with in-person operations must follow business and building safety orders
- Daycares will open with worker and building safety orders
- Restrictions in place for prisons and those living in facilities together
- Students still learning from home
- Stay-at-home restrictions lifted
- Gatherings of more than 25 people prohibited
- In-person retail is allowed; curbside and delivery is preferred
- Gyms, spas, casinos and theaters remain closed
- Restaurants and bars still limited to carryout and delivery only
Eventually, Pennsylvanians will enter into the green phase, which eases most restrictions. Still, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, everyone must follow guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
“The more a community commits to staying home and succeeds at suppressing the case count, the sooner and faster restrictions can be eased,” Wolf said.
Commissioner Matt McConnell said under Wolf’s new plan, Mercer County will be able to start reopening retail business May 8.
“It will still be critical for those in a higher risk category to even be more cautious as we open some areas back up,” McConnell said.
We haven’t heard anything yet about Lawrence County.
Wolf cautioned he may have to make changes to this plan, should spikes in cases occur.
He gave no indication of when his mandatory mask order would be lifted.