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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Anticipates Philadelphia Area to Reopen to Yellow Phase by June 5
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 05/22/20 6:57 pm | updated: 05/22/20 6:57 pm
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Friday, 5/22, that he anticipates that all counties in the commonwealth will be moved to the 'yellow' phase in the reopening plan by June 5, including the hard hit Philadelphia area. Currently, there are 49 out of 67 counties in the 'yellow' phase. Starting next Friday, 5/29, Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill counties will move to 'yellow.' Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, and Montgomery would move into the 'yellow' phase on June 5. That is in two weeks.

All of the counties announced that are moving into the 'yellow' phase, either next week or in two weeks, are over the 50/100,000 per capita total new cases over 14 days threshold set by the Wolf administration as criteria for reopening. Many of the counties are well over that number, especially in the Philadelphia area. The new cases have been dropping steadily, so it may be a different picture come June 5 (see map below). There are other criteria for reopening including hospital capacity and testing/contact tracing ability. "We feel comfortable and confident by that date of June 5, Philadelphia will be in a position that its citizens can safely move into the yellow phase," Wolf said. "My stay-at-home order did exactly what it was intended to do: It saved lives," Wolf also said. "Over the past two weeks, we have seen sustained reductions in hospitalizations... Our new case rate has been shrinking." Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said, "As we increase testing, a specific incidence rate such as the 50 per 100,000 is less critical now as a metric. Remember there have always been numerous metrics being used to move counties to yellow."

Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement in response, "It's clear from the Commonwealth's action that the work of Philadelphians - complying with the Stay at Home Order, social distancing, practicing good hygiene, and wearing masks - has put us in a much safer position than we were in two months ago. We successfully flattened the curve to prevent a hospital surge, and we undoubtedly slowed the spread of COVID-19 and saved many lives. I cannot thank our residents and business owners enough for their tremendous sacrifices during this extremely challenging time.

"Next week, our Administration will release more on what Philadelphians need to know when we move to the Yellow phase on June 5. In the meantime, remember our Stay at Home Order is still in full effect. Please stay home to stop the spread. The next two weeks are critical - if we see a spike in cases it will jeopardize any hope we have of beginning to reopen."


The 'yellow' phase is less restrictive than the 'red phase' we are currently under, but it still keeps facets of society closed. The 'yellow phase' allows for some retail businesses to reopen to in-person services while observing health guidelines, the stay-at-home orders are lifted in favor of aggressive mitigation, and child care can resume. Large gatherings over 25 people are still banned and gyms, spas, movies, theaters, salons, and other entertainment venues are still closed. Bars and restaurants are still restricted to take-out and delivery. Remote working is encouraged were feasible. (see graphic)

Wolf also announced that 17 counties in the northern parts of the state will move to the 'green' phase on May 29. The 'green' phase lifts most of the restrictions imposed. Individuals and business must adhere to CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines like wearing masks, washing hands, and practicing social distancing. The counties poised to move into the 'green' phase include: Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.

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