With some restrictions set to be lifted for 24 Pennsylvania counties on Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf will also announce additional counties in the state that will soon enter the "yellow" phase of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“As you know, last week I announced the opening of 24 counties, and tomorrow I’m going to make another announcement to make sure we announce the next round of openings,” Wolf said Thursday.
On May 1, Wolf announced that 24 counties in rural northern Pennsylvania will see some relief from his strictest orders for residents to stay at home and businesses to close as part of a strategy to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
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All of the 24 counties that are moving from “red” to “yellow” in Wolf’s color-coded reopening plan are in the northwest and north-central regions of Pennsylvania, which have seen far fewer virus infections and deaths than most of the rest of the state.
The changes are to take effect next Friday, May 8, and impact about 1.5 million of Pennsylvania's 12.8 million residents. Stay-at-home orders will be lifted and retail shops can start to reopen, though gyms, barber shops, nail salons, casinos, theaters and other such venues will remain closed and other restrictions will remain in place.
The counties where pandemic restrictions will be eased starting Friday are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango and Warren.
Beyond the 24 listed, Wolf did not specify when the additional counties he plans to announce Friday will reopen.
Wolf also extended the stay at home orders for all other "red" Pennsylvania counties Thursday night. The original statewide stay-a-home order was announced April 1 and was set to expire Thursday at midnight. Wolf extended the order for all "red" counties, including Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs, until June 4.