Majority Of Southwestern PA Counties To Move Into Yellow Phase, Beaver Remains In Red

Coronavirus Southwest PA Map
Photo credit Rep. Dan Frankel

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - A majority of Southwestern Pennsylvania is moving into the yellow phase of Governor Tom Wolf's three color phase COVID-19 reopening plan.

The three phases include red (most restrictions), yellow (some restrictions lifted) and green (restrictions lifted, but health guidelines must be followed).

The counties to be announced by Wolf for reopening are Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland Counties.

That accounts for nearly 2.7 million residents.

The only county in the area being held back is Beaver County, home to the state’s worst nursing home outbreak at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center where nearly 70 people have died.

“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. “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 also says that yellow means caution.

“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.”

Even in the yellow phase, there are still some major restrictions that will be in place for both work and social activities:

  • Work
    • Telework must continue where feasible
    • Businesses with in-person operations must follow safety orders
    • Child care open with worker and building safety orders
    • Restrictions in place for prison and congregate care
    • Schools remain closed for in-person instructions
  • Social
    • Stay at home restrictions lifted in favor of aggressive mitigation
    • Large gatherings prohibited
    • In-person retail allowed though curbside/delivery is preferred
    • Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities (such as gyms and spas), and all entertainment (such as casinos and theaters) remain closed
    • Restaurants and bars limited to carry-out and delivery

Last week a the Governor announced that a large portion of the northwest and north-central region of the state could move to the yellow phase as of May 8.

Earlier this week, The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced that 77 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores located in areas moving into the yellow phase of the states mitigation plan will begin limited in-store public access beginning May 8.

On Thursday, Wolf extended the stay-at-home order to June 4 for all counties that remain under red restrictions.

Last week, golf courses and other outdoor activities were permitted to resume on May 1, with social distancing and other restrictions in place.

PennDOT construction projects throughout the state were also been given the go-ahead to resume and in the City of Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto said certain outdoor work would start up again on May 1.

Since March, only life-sustaining businesses had been permitted to remain open, stay at home orders were put into place statewide with travel being limited to life-sustaining purposes only and all schools in the commonwealth were closed indefinitely.