learn about COVID-19, its impact, and what you can do about it.
As of June 26, 12 more Pennsylvania counties have entered the green zone, leaving Lebanon county as the sole area with yellow status. In the yellow phase, the stay at home order is lifted for aggressive mitigation, gatherings of over 25 people are prohibited, masks are required in all public spaces, indoor recreational facilities remain closed, in-person instruction in schools must follow guidance by the Department of Education, and outdoor dining is allowed to open. The green zone is Governor Tom Wolf's least restrictive phase, which allows the economy to continue to reopen, while still issuing a stay-at-home order. In the green zone, businesses must follow all of the updated safety requirements for in-person operations, and they may increase their capacity from 50% to 75%. All prisons and hospitals have determined specific restrictions for each facility. Congregate care facilities also have specific restrictions. Daycares are able to open with guidance. Construction can return at full capacity, as long as they follow safety measures. Gatherings of more than 250 people are prohibited. Restaurants, bars, entertainment centers, indoor recreation centers, health and wellness facilities, and personal care services can open at 50% capacity, as long as you make an appointment at the personal care facilities. Many places of work have their own regulations for when employees will be returning. Governor Wolf stated that schools were set to open with some aspect of in-person learning when students return in the fall, though they are not yet sure how exactly that will look. Wolf reported that he will be providing guidelines for what school should look like when it reopens, but specific start dates and how each school will go about their in-person learning will be up to local education authorities.
Though the city of Philadelphia is in the green zone, Thomas Farley, Philadelphia's Health Commissioner, has decided to pause some of its plans to reopen by prohibiting the opening of fitness centers and indoor dining until at least August 1. Philadelphia is also requiring all visitors and returning residents to self-quarantine for 14 days following their return to the city.
Pennsylvania is among the states where new cases have been increasing in the past two weeks. After hitting an all-time high of 1,989 cases on April 9th, Coronavirus cases had been steadily declining until June 15th, around the time that PA counties began to enter the green zone. Since then, cases have been on the rise, with 832 cases on July 2nd, the highest amount of daily cases since May 22nd. As a result, it has been announced that wearing face coverings will be required when residents are out in public. Governor Wolf's advice for being safe includes wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings, social distancing when possible, washing your hands often, and staying home if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Written by Sarah Lessig
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