‘Green' Doesn't Mean ‘Go': Your Guide to Pa.'s Final COVID-19 Reopening Phase

Philadelphia will still have some restrictions that are more strict than those imposed by the state

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All but one of Pennsylvania’s counties are now in the green phase of the coronavirus reopening plan. But “green” doesn’t necessarily mean "go" – much less “full speed ahead.”

Philadelphia remains in a modified yellow phase until July 3.

Under the state’s green phase, a lot more activities and industries are open again, but people and businesses will still need to adhere to certain public health guidelines – like wearing masks and social distancing – to ensure there’s not another surge of COVID-19 infections.

Keep in mind, as well, that for one week Philadelphia will have more restrictions in place, even under the green phase, than the rest of the state. “Green in Philadelphia will be more restrictive than green in the rest of Pennsylvania, both in what activities are allowed and how they must take place,” Dr. Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner said.

Nevertheless, below is what life under the green phase will look like for most counties. Below that will be some key differences when it comes to Philadelphia.

  • Businesses may resume operations, though they must continue to follow CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. Telework is still preferred, as well.
  • Many businesses must operate at no more than 75% capacity.
  • Restaurants and bars can offer indoor dining, but they have to operate at 50% capacity.
  • Entertainment venues like theaters, shopping malls, museums and casinos can operate at 50% capacity.
  • Yes, you can finally get a haircut, but you'll need to make an appointment, and unlike other businesses, salons and barber shops must also operate at 50% capacity.
  • Appointments or reservations are strongly encouraged for gyms or spas, too, which will be open at 50% capacity
  • Youth, club and rec sports resume.
  • Schools will be allowed to reopen for in-person learning, but they have to develop health and safety procedures that adhere to state and CDC guidance. They’ll also be allowed to continue with online instruction if they choose to do so.
  • Any gathering of more than 250 individuals is still prohibited, including concerts, conferences, movie showings, or theater performances.
  • Prison and hospital visits can start again, but it’ll be up to individual facilities to decide whether to allow them. Because of the danger to nursing home residents, however, visitations there will still not be allowed.
  • Professional sports teams can practice and play without fans, but they must first develop a COVID-19 safety plan and have it approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

As a large metropolitan area with many people, Philadelphia was one of the cities hit hardest by the coronavirus in Pennsylvania. As a result, officials there are taking a more cautious approach, which Gov. Tom Wolf is allowing.

Businesses that will not be allowed even when Philadelphia enters the green zone are casinos, theaters, restaurants and bars with indoor seating but no occupancy restrictions, large outdoor events of more than 50 people, in-person conventions or conferences, religious and social gatherings of more than 25 people and senior services like adult day care.

The city will determine when the aforementioned businesses and activities may restart based on overall trends of the outbreak, Farley said.

Lebanon County is the only remaining county in the yellow phase. County leaders had previously moved from red to yellow without the governor's permission. State health officials have also said the county is seeing an increase of cases that may be from community spread.

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