Everything You Need to Know About Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Reopening

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This story was updated on July 15, 2020 to reflect the latest guidelines. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced this week that new restrictions will go into effect after three weeks of the state being in the green phase of reopening. Following months of stay-at-home orders, the green phase eased restrictions, which are now being amended to further COVID-19 mitigation. As the area continues to take these steps, we’re making sure you have a convenient, up-to-date guide to the progress locally. Be sure to check back often for the most up-to-date information.

Green Phase Revisions

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  • Retail businesses may increase occupancy.
  • Restaurants can offer indoor sit-down service with occupancy to 25 percent.
  • Personal care services, indoor recreation and entertainment facilities can open with limited occupancy.
  • Gatherings of more than 250 people are prohibited.
  • Night clubs and music venues must close.
  • Workplaces that can offer telework must do so.

Yellow Phase

  • In-person retail is allowed with limited occupancy. Residents are encouraged to shop online or via curbside pickup.
  • Outdoor dining can resume with limited occupancy.
  • Personal care services, indoor recreation and entertainment facilities, such as salons, gyms and movie theaters, must remain closed.
  • Gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited.

Red Phase

  • Only life-sustaining businesses can remain open.
  • Restaurants and bars are limited to carry out and delivery only.
  • Stay-at-home orders are in place.

Where We Are

After about three weeks in the green phase, which began on June 26 for most of the state, including the heavily populated southeastern region, Gov. Wolf has issued new guidelines and restrictions regarding reopening.

The state partnered with Carnegie Melon University to create metrics that examine both community health risk and economic benefit to best determine when each county should reopen. The government also takes factors like testing and contact tracing capabilities, plus the number of hospitalizations into consideration.

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Going into effect on July 16, the targeted mitigation efforts will primarily impact dining establishments. Any bar or nightclub that does not sell food will need to close. Even if there is outdoor seating, bars that do not sell food with alcohol are not allowed to remain open. Also impacted are restaurants, which must serve sit-down food. Such establishments will be required to decreased indoor dining capacity to 25 percent, from the previously established 50 percent cap.

Other guidelines are on par with the previous plan and include limits on indoor gatherings, which must remain limited to 25 people, and outdoor gatherings, which are capped at 250 people.

All workplaces that can offer remote telework options are required to do so, and gyms and fitness centers can remain open.

As issued earlier this month, Pennsylvanians are required to wear face masks whenever they leave their homes and are encouraged to maintain social distancing. “By participating in small actions recommended by the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, we can continue to break transmission links even while we resume our daily activities,” he notes.

In the coming weeks, the government will continue to monitor the virus and adjust restrictions as necessary.

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Reporting contributed by Isabella Sanchez Castañeda

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