June 19, 2020
Philadelphia's collar counties have been cleared to enter the green phase of Pennsylvania's COVID-19 reopening plan on June 26, Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday.
Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties are among 12 counties expected to further ease restrictions on businesses and social gatherings as new coronavirus cases continue to fall throughout much of the state.
Philadelphia also was approved to enter the green phase next Friday, but the city will wait until July 3 to fully relax yellow phase restrictions.
The green phase lifts most restrictions that have been in place since March, though masks will still be required in businesses and at crowded events. Stores, gyms, salons and restaurants that reopen indoor dining will be required to operate at 50% occupancy. Gatherings of up to 250 people will be permitted.
Pennsylvania is among a small group of states that have seen strong declines in new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Wolf credited the success to the state's cautious approach.
Pennsylvania’s measured, phased process to reopen has been successful.— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) June 15, 2020
We’ve relied on science and health experts and asked everyone to do something simple: Wear a mask when you go out in public.
We'll continue to move forward cautiously.
Source: https://t.co/rn0DCnr2Fn pic.twitter.com/bC3OFcVORW
"It’s a testament to the many residents and businesses that have sacrificed over the past three months to stay home and adhere to the guidance the state has provided to protect lives and livelihoods," Wolf said. "As we begin to reopen, I urge everyone to stay alert and continue to follow social distancing to maintain the momentum of mitigation we have in place."
In Philly, salons, barbershops, spas, residential swimming pools and private swim clubs can open on June 26. The Philadelphia Zoo is also allowed to open outdoor exhibits. The remainder of the yellow phase restrictions are expected to be lifted the following week.
Lebanon County will be the only county still in the yellow phase on June 26. The county commissioners voted to reopen prematurely in late May, resulting in an uptick in cases. That has been a common pattern in areas across the United States that have accelerated their reopening timelines.
"Lebanon County’s partisan, politically-driven decision to ignore public health experts and reopen prematurely is having severe consequences for the health and safety of county residents," Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. "Case counts have escalated and the county is not yet ready to be reopened. Lebanon County has hindered its progress by reopening too early. Because of this irresponsible decision, Lebanon County residents are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19."
The following restrictions will remain in place during the green phase:
Work and Congregate Settings Restrictions
• Continued telework is 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 if they comply with guidance.
• Congregate care restrictions remain in place.
• Prison and hospital restrictions are determined by individual facilities.
• Schools are subject to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidance and state health department.
• Large gatherings of more than 250 people are prohibited.
• Masks are required when entering a business.
• Restaurants and bars can open at 50% occupancy.
• Personal care services, including hair salons and barbershops, can open at 50% occupancy and by appointment only.
• Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities, and personal care services, such as gyms and spas, can open at 50% occupancy with appointments strongly encouraged.
• All entertainment venues, including casinos, theaters and shopping malls, can open at 50% occupancy.
• Construction activity may return to full capacity with continued implementation of protocols.
"Green does not mean ‘full throttle go’," Chester County Commissioners Chair Marian Moskowitz said. "Just as we have asked throughout the yellow phase, we implore everyone to continue to make every effort to contain the coronavirus. Wear masks, continue social distancing, work from home if you can and continue all hygiene recommendations."
Pennsylvania reported 526 additional COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the statewide total to 80,762. There are 6,399 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, including 38 new fatalities.
"Each of us has a responsibility to continue to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and washing our hands frequently," Levine said. "Together we can protect our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our health care system.”