Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf announced 12 additional Pennsylvania counties, including Cumberland County, will move to the yellow phase of reopening at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22. Other counties include Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne and York.
Twenty-four counties moved into the yellow phase of reopening on May 8 and another 13 moved to yellow beginning last week.
With these additional 12 counties, there will be a total of 49 counties in the yellow phase.
The remaining 18 counties are in the red phase.
“Through our social distancing efforts, we have not only reversed a trajectory of exponential new case growth – we have cut it in half,” Wolf said. “And some of the counties that will be shifting into the yellow phase next week eliminated concerns that we had just two weeks ago. So please, keep up your efforts in the fight so we can continue to add counties to the list of those in the yellow phase. Thank you again for your patience and your hard work.”
Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine amended their yellow phase orders to include 13 counties that moved to the yellow phase last week. Those counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.
Red phase stay-at-home orders remain in effect until June 4, but that does not mean that other counties will not move to the yellow phase in advance of that date.
The reopening plan prioritizes the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians by using a combination of factors to gauge how much movement a location can tolerate before the 2019 novel coronavirus becomes a threat, including metrics developed in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh that will be released twice each week.
Wolf stressed that this plan is not a one-way route. The state is closely monitoring the counties in the yellow phase and will re-impose restrictions if danger arises. If the new case count begins to climb in one area, restrictions will need to be imposed to prevent local medical facilities from becoming overwhelmed. So, Pennsylvanians should continue to make good choices, continue social distancing and practice proper hygiene and hand-washing techniques.
“As we move into the next step in opening our county we will abide by all the guidelines deemed necessary while operating responsibly,” said Cumberland County Commissioner Gary Eichelberger. “Several key restrictions remain in place to ensure that our residents continue implementing safeguards so we have a reopening that can last, and have a sustained success for the community.”
How to work and live in the yellow phase:
Work & congregate setting restrictions
-- Telework must continue where feasible
-- Businesses with in-person operations must follow business and building safety orders
-- Child care open complying with guidance
-- Congregate care and prison restrictions in place
-- Schools remain closed for in-person instruction
-- Stay-at-home restrictions lifted in favor of aggressive mitigation
-- Large gatherings of more than 25 prohibited
-- In-person retail allowable, curbside and delivery preferable
-- Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities (such as gyms, spas), and all entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) remain closed
-- Restaurants and bars limited to carry-out and delivery only
-- All businesses must follow CDC and DoH guidance for social distancing and cleaning.
-- Monitor public health indicators; adjust orders and restrictions as necessary.
In counties in the yellow phase, all businesses, except those specifically excluded in the Governor’s Plan to Reopen Pennsylvania are permitted to conduct in-person operations, so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of this guidance.
“We will be outlining our action plans for the reopening of our courthouse and all county government facilities with modifications, within the next week,” added Eichelberger.
At this time, the county-owned facility, Claremont Nursing Rehabilitation Center, will remain closed to visitation, as well as the county prison, and all Department of Health and CDC guidelines remain in place to continue to maintain the spread of COVID-19.