Approximately 150 protesters chanted and carried signs telling Wolf they want Pennsylvania to get back to work. York Daily Record
Twelve counties will make their way into the green phase on Friday, including York, but some of Pennsylvania is still lagging behind in the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s tiered reopening plan.
It will take time before things are back to normal, whatever that normal will be, and the decision to reopen counties is based on a number of factors. Many are data-driven, like the number of new cases. But others depend on whether local industries are able to practice social distancing when they reopen.
But in the end, it’s a judgment call Wolf has to make.
So, how is Wolf deciding what counties are moving to the green?
Well first off, Wolf has said it numerous times — but the curve needs to flatten.
To reopen, the curve of new confirmed cases needs to fall low enough to what officials believe is a manageable number.
Testing also has to be easily accessible.
A lack of testing has been a problem with the pandemic across the country, and that needs to change before counties can reopen. It’s the key to protecting front-line workers and flagging new cases.
Wolf said officials are also looking at things such as population density, where state or local health departments are located, health-care capacity, and how close the area is to coronavirus hot spots in nearby counties. The state will be looking at what kinds of industries operate in a county, and how they can reopen.
Many of these factors are subjective, so at this point it’s just a waiting game.
If a county looks ready to fully reopen on paper, but the state worries about some other factor, Wolf could choose to keep that county in the yellow phase.
This phase is considered the “new normal.” Although most restrictions on business operations and social guidelines are lifted, safety guidelines implemented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health must be followed.
Workplace and 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. Any gathering greater than 250 individuals is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, a concert, festival, fair, conference, sporting event, movie showing, or theater performance
- Restaurants and bars open at 50% occupancy
- Personal care services such as 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
- Casinos, theaters, and shopping malls open at 50% occupancy
- Construction activity may return to full capacity with continued implementation of protocols
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