HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) — Some counties in Pennsylvania could see practically all of the state’s pandemic restrictions on business activity and gatherings lifted in the coming days, other than social-distancing and health-monitoring guidelines that are in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Thursday’s announcement by Gov. Tom Wolf — that some counties could get to move to the least-restrictive “green” phase of his three-color traffic-signal reopening plan stages — could become official on Friday.
“So I’ll be announcing a whole range of counties tomorrow moving from red to yellow and the hope is that we’ll also be making some counties that might even be moving from yellow to green tomorrow,” Wolf told reporters on a conference call.
With the number of new infections slowing, Wolf has been easing social distancing restrictions and allowing many businesses to reopen in lightly impacted areas of the state.
It is not clear, exactly, what restrictions, if any, will remain in place in the green phase.
Wolf’s health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, said the Health Department will soon release criteria for moving a county into the green phase of Wolf’s reopening plan.
“As we release the metrics to go into the green zone, we’re also working on what life in the green zone would (look) like, especially for businesses, restaurants, etc.,” Levine said Thursday at a video news conference.
On Friday, 12 already-announced counties — Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne and York — will move from red to yellow and join 37 other counties.
Eighteen mostly eastern Pennsylvania counties that are home to 60% of Pennsylvania’s 12.8 million residents — including Philadelphia and its heavily populated suburbs — have yet to receive word as to when they will leave the red phase. Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs previously had its stay-at-home orders extended to June 4.
Wolf’s stay-at-home order still applies in the red phase, as do many restrictions on business activity that lift in the yellow phase.
Statewide, there are over 65,000 COVID-19 cases, while the death toll nears 4,900.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)