The Color-Coded Reopening of Pennsylvania


There is significant
discussion at both the national and state levels around the issue of
“re-opening”.  Who is going too fast, or not fast enough, has become a
hotly contested debate. One restriction was already lifted statewide: all
public and private construction were able to resume as of Friday, May 1st.
Pennsylvania Governor Wolf felt construction was a “reasonable place to start”
reopening the economy, with strict safety guidelines in place.

Governor Wolf has
further unveiled a new color-coded plan to gradually reopen the state. Each
county has been assigned a color, based on the number of cases of coronavirus.
In order to leave the red phase, and enter the yellow phase to begin reopening,
the county must have the total number of new reported cases over a 14-day
period to be fewer than 50 per 100,000 residents. Above is what that
color-coded map looked like as of April 28th. Wolf has stated that Southeastern
Pennsylvania counties will “be among the last places” in the commonwealth to
begin to open, as clearly evident by the heat map. 24 counties will be entering
the yellow phase Friday, May 8th (read here).

In Pennsylvania,
benchmarks for testing capacity, hospital capacity, and the ability to do
contact tracing will be used in addition to the required case threshold to help
determine when a given area is ready to reopen, state officials said. When
asked the dates of entering each phase City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley
simply stated that “the virus determines its own schedule”, and that he
was unable to give an exact date, or number of weeks. The following limitations
will be in place for each color phase:

Red Phase: Has been in
place since April 1st 

Work and Congregate Settings:

  • Only life-sustaining businesses open
  • Schools are closed for in-person instruction
  • Most child care closed

Social Settings:

  • Stay at home ordered
  • Large gatherings prohibited
  • Restaurants and bars limited to carry out and delivery
  • Travel  only permitted for life-sustaining purposes

Yellow Phase: Begin to

Work and Congregate Settings:

  • Telework to continue where feasible
  • Businesses with in-person operations must follow additional safety orders
  • Child care to open with building safety orders
  • Schools closed for in-person instruction

Social Settings:

  • Stay at home lifted in favor of aggressive mitigation
  • Large gatherings prohibited
  • Indoor recreation and health and wellness facilities remain closed (gyms, spas, casinos, theaters, etc.)
  • Restaurants and bars limited to carry out and delivery

Green Phase: “New

Work and Congregate Settings:

  • All businesses must follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines

Social Settings:

  • Aggressive mitigation orders lifted
  • All  individuals must follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines

For more information on how to safely re-open
your business read here, or read more
on the color-coded re-opening system here 


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