Philadelphia County and surrounding counties are expected to move into the yellow phase of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 reopening plan by June 5, Gov. Tom Wolf announced at a press conference today.
Counties in the yellow phase can partially relax restrictions on work and social interactions, according to the reopening plan. Residents are permitted to leave their homes and gather in groups of up to 25 people. Schools will remain closed for in-person instruction, while restaurants, gyms and other businesses will largely remain closed.
Wolf previously set a benchmark for counties to report an average of less than 50 cases per 100,000 residents in a 14-day period to be eligible for the yellow phase, according to the Commonwealth’s plan.
However, this will not be the only metric used to determine if counties like Philadelphia will be permitted to move into the yellow phase, Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said at the press conference. The state will look at this metric in addition to evaluating risk-based predictions from Carnegie Mellon University, contact tracing, testing capability and sustained reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The announcement for Philadelphia came as Wolf declared eight counties will move into the yellow phase by May 29, along with 17 counties moving into the green phase on that date. Prior to today’s press conference, 49 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties were in the yellow phase.
This move to the next reopening phase serves as a testament to the success of Pennsylvania’s social distancing guidelines, Wolf said.
“My stay-at-home order did exactly what it was supposed to do,” Wolf said at the press conference. “Our actions, our collective decision to stay at home, saved lives.”