Will Governor Wolf Move Bucks County Into the “Yellow” Phase of Re-Opening Today?
Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf is expected to announce more counties will be moving from the “red” phase of the state’s coronavirus closures into the state’s “yellow” phase.
The "yellow" phase, of course, allows more businesses to re-open and lifts parts of the stay at home order, which have been in effect since mid-March.
So will Bucks County be included in that list? It's possible, but nobody knows for sure.
Pressure has been mounting from county officials to move Bucks County into the next re-opening phase.
Wolf is expected to make some announcements regarding the re-opening of the state during today's press conference. It'll be held at 4 pm.
“I’ll be announcing a whole range of counties tomorrow moving from red to yellow, and the hope is that we’ll also be making some counties that might even be moving from yellow to green tomorrow," Wolf said.
Bucks County reported 51 new COVID-19 infections yesterday and six deaths.
The county says a majority of their new cases were household contacts and residents of long-term care facilities. The deaths (one of which occurred in April and another two were two weeks ago) all involved people with underlying health conditions.
In their pleas to re-open, officials cite the fact that they believe their aggressive mitigation efforts ARE working.
“I’m still praying for yellow coming tomorrow,” Bucks Commissioners Chair Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia said on Thursday.
Under the "red phase" of the COVID-19 mitigation efforts, which is the phase that all of southeastern Pennsylvania remains in, "only life-sustaining businesses may remain open" with "stay at home" orders in place.
The yellow phase of the state's re-opening plan lifts the stay at home order and calls for aggressive mitigation instead.
It calls for telework to continue where feasible, but the guidelines allow businesses to re-open (if they follow safety orders). In-person retail is allowable. Plus, Childcare can also re-open.
Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo said he remains “hopeful and optimistic" that the county will be moved to yellow during the governor's Friday update.
In the state's yellow phase, large gatherings of more than 25 persons remain prohibited. Restaurants and bars are still limited to carry-out or delivery. Plus, gyms, hair salons, and entertainment venues all remain closed.
Citing limited community spread, the county's commissioners have been calling on Governor Wolf to allow the county to move into the next phase of the state's re-opening plan.
"I absolutely believe that we are ready to move to yellow, and do it safely," DiGirolamo says.
The state previously set a benchmark for counties to have fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period. It's a benchmark that Bucks county (and several others like Montgomery County) far exceeded.