Coronavirus Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf Lays Out Color-Coded COVID-19 Reopening Plan
Wolf wants to begin easing some restrictions on May 8 in areas that have been lightly impacted by the coronavirus.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) — On Monday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf gave May 8 as the target reopening date for the state. On Wednesday, he said that date could apply to parts of the commonwealth but not the Philadelphia region.
“The initial benchmark we are setting is for the population to have an average of less than 50 cases per 100,000 individuals over the case of 14 days in order to return to work,” Wolf said.
Tonight, I’m announcing our plan to slowly reopen Pennsylvania.
We will use a measured, scientific approach. We will not just be flipping a switch to go from closed to open.
And, ultimately, #COVID19 will set the timeline.
There will be three phases: red, yellow, and green. pic.twitter.com/NahiYrKovo
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) April 22, 2020
Under Wolf’s plan, reopening will take place in three phases — red, yellow and green.
“We will not just be flipping a switch and going from closed to open and ultimately the virus is going to set the timeline, not us,” he said.
The red phase is where we are now, where only businesses deemed life-sustaining can operate and stay-at-home orders are in place. Travel is discouraged, schools are closed and restaurants are limited to carry out only.
The next phase is yellow, where telework will continue, where possible. Day cares will open but schools will remain closed. Travel will remain the same, bars and restaurants will still be carry out only. Gatherings over 25 people will be prohibited, entertainment and recreation areas will remain closed.
The green phase is the final one, with aggressive mitigation orders lifted.
This will be a regional approach based on caseload. Southeast Pennsylvania has held the bulk of COVID-19 cases so reopening of this area is likely to be more gradual than other parts of the state.
The virus has infected more than 35,000 people in Pennsylvania and killed more than 1,600, but Wolf, a Democrat, says the state has made sufficient progress in its fight against COVID-19 to begin a gradual loosening of restrictions. Republicans are pressing for a more aggressive timetable.
Wolf also pushed up the date that limited building construction work may resume statewide, from May 8 to May 1. But he cautioned that if the virus flares up again in a certain county or region, residents would be ordered back home and businesses would have to shut down again.
Schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
CBS3’s Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)