Last updated: May 1, 2020 - 2:59pm
HARRISBURG — Montour, Northumberland, and Lycoming counties were among 24 counties that Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Friday could move to the first phase of reopening beginning on May 8.
In the "yellow" phase, businesses will be allowed to open up, but will have to abide by safety guidelines. The stay-at-home orders on the public will be lifted.
In-person retail will be allowed, although curbside and delivery is preferred, the state said.
Restaurants and bars will still be limited to carry-out and delivery, and gyms, spas and theaters will have to remain closed, according to a press release.
The counties were deemed ready to move to a reopening – or yellow phase – because of low per-capita case counts, the ability to conduct contact tracing and testing, and appropriate population density to contain community spread, the state said.
Here's a complete list of counties that Gov. Wolf is moving to the yellow phase:
Here's more information from the state's press release:
The administration partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to create a Risk-Based Decision Support Tool that enables decision makers to strike a balance between maximizing the results of our economy while minimizing public health risks.
The CMU tool looked at the impacts of risk factors such as reported number of COVID cases per population of an area; ICU and medical/surgical bed capacity; population density; population over age 60; re-opening contact risk, such as the number of workers employed in a currently closed industry sector.
The CMU metrics were considered along with the county’s or region’s ability to conduct testing and contact-tracing to first and foremost maintain robust public health.
“Our goal since this pandemic was first identified in Pennsylvania has been to save lives while ensuring that the public health system does not become overwhelmed with people suffering from COVID-19,” said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine in a prepared statement. “Our contact tracing and testing plans will ensure that as we begin to resume our daily activities, we can do so safely and without fear.”
Here's what restrictions will remain in the yellow phase for workplaces and areas where the public would congregate:
• 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
And here are what social restrictions would remain:
• Stay at Home Order Lifted for Aggressive Mitigation
• Large Gatherings of More than 25 Prohibited
• In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
• Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities and Personal Care Services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
• Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
All businesses not specifically mentioned as restricted from reopening may reopen if they follow the forthcoming guidance.