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Coronavirus In Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf Unveils Color-Coded Plan For Reopening The State, Region By Region

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Gov. Tom Wolf announced the phased color-coded plan that will be used to reopen the state region by region.

It's broken down into three phases: red, yellow and green.

Right now, all of Pennsylvania is listed as red. Moving to yellow would mean some restrictions would be lifted, like the stay-at-home orders.

And green would mean businesses could reopen while following CDC and state health department guidelines.

The governor's plan for opening Pa. details specifically what is and isn't allowed in each of the three phases. For example, in the yellow phase in-person retail is available, with delivery and curbside preferred.

Most stores on Pittsburgh's South Side have been closed for at least a month, as the city works to slow the spread of COVID-19. With a sagging economy, Governor Tom Wolf announced May 8 as a target to start reopening the Commonwealth.

"They need to come up with a fair balance for the economy and the health of the people, because both are important. Health is really important," said Stacy Rodgers from the North Hills.

Several factors will be determined when moving a county or region from one phase to another, including the number of COVID-19 cases in a two-week period.

WATCH: KDKA's Lisa Washington reports

"We might re-open some areas or businesses only to close them again if the virus begins to resurge," said Gov. Wolf, when he detailed the plan Wednesday night.

In a Thursday morning conference call with reporters, Gov. Wolf said just because a region is open doesn't mean it won't close again.

He addressed concerns that people from a county under a stay-at-home order might move to an open county to shop.

"There's tinders smoldering all around," Gov. Tom Wolf said. "And we might look pretty good today, but that inherent spark from that tinder, that neighboring area could ignite something in our area."

The governor says the goal is to get the north-central and northwest regions to the yellow phase by May 8. That means their stay-at-home order would be lifted in favor of aggressive mitigation.


As of Thursday, the north-central and northwest regions had 598 and 244 cases of coronavirus respectively.

Meanwhile, the southwest region has 2,215 cases counts.

The threshold for reopening and returning to work -- or moving into the yellow phase -- is for the population of a region to have an average of less than 50 cases per 100,000 individuals over the course of 14 days.

Allegheny County officials say among the 1.25 million residents, there would have to be less than 625 cases in the last week. Allegheny County and our seven county metro of more than 2 million has also surpassed the benchmark. Between April 2 through April 15, the Allegheny County has seem 396 cases.

"Because of the social distancing -- physical distancing -- as well as some of the mitigation strategies that have seemed to work here in the southwest and if we can continue that then we may be able to start opening up," said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald is confident but cautions that more testing is needed to confirm our numbers and that reopening will be a gradual process.

"I don't want to create the impression that in the green zone, everything opens up and we go 100 percent back to normal," he said. "I don't think that what the governor intended. But if we keep these mitigation's in place it looks like the dept of health on the state level is moving forward with a strategy to open things up again."

Some Pennsylvania residents think May 8 might be too soon.

"Yeah, that's too soon, July is fine with me" said Brenda McCune, who lives in Uptown.

John DiGirolamo added, "I think the slower the better right now. I think the distancing seems to be working very well for everywhere. Why push it?"

In this era of social distancing and wearing face coverings, even in a green phase, a fully open Pennsylvania will have a new look.

"Right now, what's making me think this is how I'm going to be living for the rest of the year, said McCune. "Nothing will ever be normal again."

Here's Gov. Tom Wolf's full plan:

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

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 with Worker and Building Safety Orders
  • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
  • Schools Remain Closed for In-Person Instruction

Social Restrictions

  • Stay at Home Restrictions Lifted in Favor of Aggressive Mitigation
  • Large Gatherings of More than 25 Prohibited
  • In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities (such as gyms, spas), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
  • Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only

Green Phase
Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions

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

Social Restrictions

  • Aggressive Mitigation Orders Lifted
  • All Individuals Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines

You can read more here.

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