On June 19 Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike and Schuylkill counties will move to the green phase of the Wolf administration’s plan to reopen Pennsylvania, state officials announced on Friday.
That will bring the total number of green-phase counties to 54 by the end of next week, leaving only 13 in the yellow phase. Other south-central counties, such as Lancaster and Lebanon, as of Friday, will remain in the yellow phase, while York and Adams counties turned green today.
Wolf administration officials say the purpose of the yellow phase has been to gradually “power back up the economy” while remaining vigilant about public health data to monitor and contain the spread of COVID-19. Moving into the yellow phase lifts the county’s stay-at-home mandates for other aggressive mitigation efforts, such as prohibiting gatherings of more than 25, limiting restaurants to outdoor dining and takeout services and keeping health and wellness facilities closed.
Wolf said as the state has moved forward with its phased reopening plan, the number of COVID-19 cases has continued to decline. After a county transitions into the yellow phase, state health officials monitor its number of cases, and if they decide overall risk remains mitigated for 14 days the county is eligible to transition to the green phase.
“In Pennsylvania, not only did we flatten the curve, but we are continuing to keep case counts down even as we open our commonwealth,” Wolf said. “We will continue to take a measured, phased approach to reopening that relies on science and health experts.”
Dauphin County commissioners are launching a task force to help draft a plan for “recovery and resilience” as communities and businesses transition into the green phase’s “new normal.”
The Reopen and Restore Dauphin County Task Force will consist of three advisory teams —business, public health and safety and social services — gathering information on their key areas to make recommendations to the board of commissioners.
“In addition to safely opening businesses and communities, the task force will tackle mental health, hunger, unemployment, addiction and other issues that were compounded by the coronavirus crisis,” said Dauphin County Commissioner George P. Hartwick, who oversees the county human services agencies. “Our goal is to put Dauphin County in the best position to recover economically and socially, prepare for a possible resurgence of the virus and protect vulnerable populations.”