Gov. Tom Wolf announced that 13 western Pennsylvania counties, comprising nearly 2.7 million residents and much of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area can shed his most restrictive Coronavirus pandemic orders on movement and businesses.
According to the Governor´s Press Release, the counties announced Friday for reopening in a week are Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
The only western county held back, Beaver County, due to its serious nursing home outbreak.
Also Friday, 24 counties began emerging from pandemic restrictions.
Meanwhile, most of Pennsylvania, including the heavily populated Philadelphia area and hard-hit eastern Pennsylvania, remains under Wolf’s strictest shutdown orders, called the “red” designation, with no timeline to emerge. There, Wolf’s stay-at-home orders extend until June 4.
Tow Wolf and Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine signed new orders, one of them for the yellow phase reopening, and the other, to extend the red phase counties´ stay-at-home orders to 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.” Gov. Wolf said.
He explained that the restrictions can be applied again if it is necessary.“I´d like to emphasize that this plan is not a one-way route. We are closing monitoring the 24 counties in the yellow phase and will re-impose restrictions if danger arises.”
The governor also explained that the yellow color of the phase means a state of prudence and caution. Therefore, residents should not abandon prevention practices to avoid contagion
“Every contact between two people is a new link in the chain of potential transmission,” Wolf stated. “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, but citations are possible for violators depending on the specific circumstances of an investigation.