HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Friday that 13 more Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 15.
Those counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.
On May 1, the governor announced the 24 counties moving into the yellow phase of reopening beginning Friday, May 8.
Thursday evening, Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed new orders – one for yellow phase reopening and one to extend the red phase counties’ stay-at-home order, which was set to expire, to June 4.
The red phase stay-at-home order extension does not mean that other counties won’t move to the yellow phase in advance of June 4.
“The reopening plan prioritizes the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians by using a combination of factors to gauge how much movement a location can tolerate before the 2019 novel coronavirus becomes a threat,” Wolf said.
“I’d like to emphasize that this plan is not a one-way route. We are closely monitoring the 24 counties in the yellow phase and will re-impose restrictions if danger arises.”
Wolf reminded residents and business owners that yellow means caution and that everyone needs to continue to be mindful of their actions and how they affect not only themselves, but also their families, friends and community.
“Every contact between two people is a new link in the chain of potential transmission,” Wolf said. “And if the new case count begins to climb in one area, restrictions will need to be imposed to prevent local medical facilities from becoming overwhelmed. So, Pennsylvanians should continue to make good choices.”
Law enforcement remains focused on achieving voluntary compliance through education, state officials say, but citations are possible for violators depending on the specific circumstances of an investigation.
In addition to the possible criminal penalties levied by law enforcement, state officials say there may be additional licensing consequences for violators, in part, through complaints filed by employees on the Department of Health portal that allows any employee who feels their employer is not providing a safe work environment to fill out an online form.
The Department of Health vets the complaints and investigates internally or sends the complaint to the appropriate state agency for investigation.
For example, restaurant complaints are handled by the Department of Agriculture, which inspects those facilities; complaints about nursing homes are handled by the Department of Health, which inspects and licenses those facilities. Other involved agencies are the departments of State and Labor & Industry.
Concerns about a business reopening that may be in violation of stay-at-home or yellow phase orders should be made to local law enforcement non-emergency numbers or a local elected official.
View the Carnegie Mellon University Risk-Based Decision Support Tool here.