Health officials just revealed that the city of Philadelphia could reach the “green phase” of the state’s reopening plan as early as July 3rd.

Officials caution, however, that the coronavirus trends need to continue in the right direction in order for that happen. Basically, they're saying that July 3 is the EARLIEST that the city could reach the green phase of the COVID-19 reopening plans. The announcement was made during the city's daily coronavirus press conference on Thursday.

“We don’t want to be another Florida," the city's health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley said.

Under the green phase of the state's reopening plan, all businesses must follow guidelines from the CDC And the PA Department of Public Health. It would allow for many daily activities to resume such as the reopening of schools, indoor shopping malls, gyms, and salons.

In fact, personal services (such as salons, spas, and barbers) could reopen as early as July 26 if progress continues. 

However, it's important to note that the city of Philadelphia has slightly modified the state's plans for the green phase.

"Higher risk activities" will NOT immediately start when the city reaches the green phase. These include the reopening of casinos, indoor dining, theaters, and even large indoor social and religious gatherings with more than 25 people.

These activities will be allowed to restart on different dates, which will be determined by health officials.

City of Philadelphia
City of Philadelphia

The move is contingent upon a four-week decline in cases of the coronavirus. The city itself will need to have less than 80 new daily cases or less than 4% of positive results (if more than 2,000 tests are administered per day), as laid out in the city’s “Reopening With Care” guidelines.

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Bucks & Montgomery Counties & All of Southeastern PA Could Be Next

Meanwhile, officials across Southeastern Pennsylvania (in counties such as Bucks and Montgomery) have been citing encouraging trends in the case data as signs that their communities may move to the state's green phase of the reopening plans as well. Though, none of them have laid out a specific timeline.

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The region is currently under the yellow phase of the outlines released by Governor Wolf and health officials.

The yellow phase calls for "aggressive mitigation of the virus." It encourages telework wherever feasible and limits large gatherings, restaurants, etc. However, it did allow for such things as outdoor recreation, outdoor dining, childcare, and some in-person retail to resume in recent days.

COVID-19 Opening Yellow

Philadelphia's Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley praised the efforts of Philadelphians to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The people Philadelphia didn't just flatten the curve,” Dr. Farley said on Thursday. “You suppressed the virus, and in the process saved thousands of lives.”

He acknowledged how difficult this time has been for many.

“That success though has come at a price. It's been very difficult for people," Dr. Farley says. "For some people, it's just that they're bored at home, and other people have lost their jobs, lost their businesses, many people are truly suffering and some are actually hungry.”

This is a developing story. We'll have more details when they're made available.

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