Reopening Pennsylvania

    On April 23, Gov. Tom Wolf released details on his phased approach to reopening Pennsylvania. It will be a cautious and gradual process, taking into account a number of factors. Broad reopenings or reopenings that are not structured around ongoing social distancing, universal masking, or other public health guidance would likely result in a spike of cases and new stay-at-home and closure orders.

    The administration will have guidance in place to support best public health practices throughout the process. This guidance will reinforce and build on existing worker and building safety orders. It will also be able to adapt to the changing nature of the pandemic, as well as lessons learned from communities that return to work strategically.

    Discussed in greater detail below, the administration will utilize a three-phase matrix to determine when counties and/or regions are ready to begin easing some restrictions on work, congregate settings, and social interactions.

    The red phase, which currently applies to the whole state, has the sole purpose of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 through strict social distancing, non-life sustaining business, school closures, and building safety protocols.

    Red Phase

    Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions

    • Life-Sustaining Businesses Only
    • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
    • Schools (for in-person instruction) and Most Child Care Facilities Closed

    Social Restrictions

    • Stay-at-Home Orders in Place
    • Large Gatherings Prohibited
    • Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
    • Only Travel for Life-Sustaining Purposes Encouraged
    • Reiterate and Reinforce Safety Guidance for Businesses, Workers, Individuals, Facilities,
    • Update if Necessary
    • Monitor Public Health Indicators, Adjust Orders, and Restrictions as Necessary

    As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place. For example, retail locations will be able to open with forthcoming guidance in place that is substantially similar to the worker safety and building safety order. Otherwise retail will be able to allow for curbside pickup. The purpose of this phase is to begin to power back up the economy while keeping a close eye on the public health data to ensure the spread of disease remains contained to the greatest extent possible.

    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

    Social Restrictions

    • 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, 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 Must Follow CDC and DOH Guidance for Social Distancing and Cleaning
    • Monitor Public Health Indicators, Adjust Orders and Restrictions as Necessary

    The green phase eases most restrictions by lifting the stay-at-home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health. While this phase will facilitate a return to a “new normal,” it will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.

    Green Phase

    Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions

    • All Businesses Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines

    Social Restrictions

    • Aggressive Mitigation Lifted
    • All Individuals Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines
    • Monitor Public Health Indicators, Adjust Orders and Restrictions as Necessary

    On May 8, northwestern and north-central Pennsylvania moved into the Yellow phase. These regions were selected because of low per-capita case counts, the ability to conduct contact tracing and testing, and appropriate population density to contain community spread. Reopening decisions will follow the six standards outlined in the Governor’s plan:

    1. Data-driven and quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopening.
    2. Clear guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities and providers for assured accountability.
    3. Adequate and available personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing.
    4. A monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation.
    5. Protections for vulnerable populations such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
    6. Limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations. •