Wolf lays out first steps to gradually open post-coronavirus economy in Pa.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday announced the first steps toward the state's plan to slowly reopen after May 8.

Wolf says reopening the state will be evidence based and will take place region by region, and business sector by business sector.

He praised residents for adhering to social distancing and his stay-at-home orders because of the positive impact the efforts have had on stabilizing the rate of new infections.

“Pennsylvanians have made sure our hospitals were not overwhelmed, but we have done this at a cost," the governor said. "Today I want to announce that we are taking small steps toward regaining a degree of normalcy in Pennsylvania.”

Today I’m announcing that we will now allow:✅ Restart of construction projects with strict guidance (May 8)✅ Curbside pickup at Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board stores✅ Online vehicle sales pic.twitter.com/J4a2MbRhBs

— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) April 20, 2020

Those small steps include curbside pickup of online orders at 176 wine and spirits stores in the state and online car sales. And limited construction, with strict social distancing guidelines in place, can begin statewide on May 8.

Wolf said the curbside pickup at those select wine and spirits stores will help determine if the model can be applied safely to other businesses.

In his remarks Wolf said Pennsylvanians have given up a lot for the past six weeks and those efforts have paid off.

“Our new case numbers have stabilized and we have prevented the patient surges that we were all so concerned about and that we’ve seen in other places.”

Wolf warned that the slight relaxing of some of the state's shutdown order does not mean it will be business as usual on May 8.

COVID-19 is still a threat, and we cannot yet relax, the governor said. There is no vaccine, no antibody test and no cure for the disease.

He urged Pennsylvanians to carry on avoiding physical interactions to further cut down on opportunities for transmission of the virus. Limitations on large gatherings will continue, and the statewide stay-at-home order remains in effect through May 8.

Wolf first issued the order on April 1, and it was set to expire on April 30.

“It is clear that our early and aggressive efforts to mitigate this spread of this highly contagious and deadly virus are working,” Wolf said in a statement. “While we begin to seek ways to move forward, it’s imperative that we continue to take strong precautions to protect Pennsylvanians and ensure that our health care system is not overwhelmed.”

Following Wolf's announcements, the state's Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine gave an update on the COVID-19 case count throughout the commonwealth.

The addition of 948 new positive tests for the coronavirus brings the statewide total to 33,232 known cases of the disease.

The health department confirmed 92 new deaths are reported among positive cases since the last report, bringing the statewide total to 1,204 people dead. 


KYW Newsradio's Eric Walter contributed to this report.