Shutdown to lift around western Pennsylvania

Coronavirus

The only western county held back, Beaver County, is home to perhaps the state’s worst nursing home outbreak

A person wearing a protective face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus walks past a shuttered business in Philadelphia, Thursday, May 7, 2020.

A person wearing a protective face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus walks past a shuttered business in Philadelphia, Thursday, May 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(WKBN) – Governor Tom Wolf announced 13 Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening on Friday, May 15.

Those counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.

The only western county held back, Beaver County, is home to perhaps the state’s worst nursing home outbreak

On May 1, the governor announced that 24 counties, including Mercer and Lawrence counties, are moving into the yellow phase of reopening. That started Friday.

Thursday night, he and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed new orders – one for yellow phase reopening and one to extend the red phase counties’ stay-at-home order to June 4.

The red phase stay-at-home order extension does not mean that other counties won’t move to the yellow phase in advance of 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. “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.”

Gov. Wolf reminded residents and business owners that yellow means caution and that everyone needs to continue to be mindful of their actions.

“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.”

Law enforcement remains focused on achieving voluntary compliance through education, but citations are possible for violators depending on the specific circumstances of an investigation.

In addition to the possible criminal penalties levied by law enforcement, there may be additional licensing consequences for violators, in part, through complaints filed by employees on the Department of Health portal that allows any employee who feels their employer is not providing a safe work environment to fill out an online form.

Concerns about a business reopening that may be in violation of stay-at-home or yellow phase orders should be made to local law enforcement non-emergency numbers or a local elected official.

Read Gov. Wolf’s Plan for PA here.

Read business guidance here.

Read CDC guidance for child care centers here.

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