Elk, Cameron, McKean, Potter, and Warren counties are going green May 29. This move means a change to “near normalcy,” according to Gov. Tom Wolf, who advised Friday that some precautions will still be in effect despite the change to green.
On May 29, 57 counties will be out of the red phase, while 17 counties in total will move to green.
Wolf explained that when counties are in green, all businesses may resume operations. This means restaurants and bars can open to dine-in service, although they will be required to operate at a reduced capacity.
However, sporting events, concerts and large gatherings will still be prohibited. Nursing home visitation will continue to be restricted, and hospital and prison visitation may be restricted on a case-by-case basis.
Social distancing, wearing masks in public, hand washing and using hand sanitizer will continue to be required even in those counties in the green phase, as these are included in the Center for Disease Control and Department of Health’s ongoing recommendations for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to thank all Pennsylvanians who have made tremendous sacrifices since this virus emerged in Pennsylvania. I want to remember and honor all of those who we lost and I want to give solace to their families and loved ones,” Wolf said. “The last two months have been trying and have tested each of us. I want to thank and acknowledge all of the people of our Commonwealth who have been called upon to upend their lives to keep their families and neighbors safe.”
The question portion of the press conference focused on the decision process to move various counties to different phases.
The governor reiterated the fact that “the 50 per 100,000 statistic was one of many that we considered” in regard to moving counties from phase to phase. He noted that at the time of the first case on March 6, the state had less capacity for testing and knew less about this disease than officials do now. With the passage of time and gathering of information from various sources, state officials know more about what is happening with this virus and the state has greater testing capacity.
“What hasn’t changed is keeping people safe, we know how to do that now,” Wolf said.