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HARRISBURG — More than a dozen Pennsylvania counties, largely clustered in the southwestern part of the state, will soon move to the “green” reopening phase, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday.
The announcement expands the number of counties given the go-ahead by state officials to lift most coronavirus restrictions placed on businesses and residents.
Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties will enter the green phase on June 5, Wolf said Friday. They’ll join 18 counties in north-central and northwest Pennsylvania that entered that phase today.
“We’ve been able to do this because of the precautions taken by Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said at a daily news briefing.
In March, Wolf instituted widespread business closures and began placing counties under strict stay-at-home orders to prevent COVID-19 cases from overwhelming hospitals. As the number of cases declined, Wolf announced a three-tiered reopening plan that gradually eases restrictions.
The governor has faced mounting political pressure in recent weeks to loosen shutdown guidelines that have battered local economies.
All counties that are still in the most restrictive “red” phase, including Philadelphia and its suburbs, are expected to move to the “yellow” phase on June 5, allowing some businesses in these counties to resume in-person operations and residents to move more freely. However, gyms, salons, casinos, and theaters must remain closed.
Restaurants and bars cannot reopen their indoor dining rooms under the yellow phase, but starting next Friday they will be allowed to offer outdoor dining if they follow certain guidelines and limit capacity.
Phase green loosens most workplace and social gathering restrictions, so long as residents and businesses follow safety guidelines implemented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health.
For example, restaurants and bars, which were limited to carry-out and delivery, may open at 50% occupancy under green. All entertainment, including casinos, theaters, and shopping malls, may also reopen at half-capacity.
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