His office later clarified that before that date, some of these counties may be able to move out of the “red” classification if the situation improves. Under this phase, residents are under orders to stay home with all “non-life-sustaining” businesses ordered to close.
“Tonight’s extension of the original order does not preclude counties moving into the yellow phase earlier than June 4,” spokeswoman Lyndsay Kensinger said in an email, reported WTAE. “The extension of the overall order was necessary because it was expiring tonight.”
With the April 1 statewide stay-at-home orders set to expire tonight at midnight, @GovernorTomWolf and @SecretaryLevine today extended the orders for all counties in red and signed new orders for the 24 counties moving to yellow at 12:01 a.m., May 8. https://t.co/98OWBd7iiz
— Office of the Governor (@GovernorsOffice) May 8, 2020
Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order was initially put in place on April 1, and was set to expire on May 8. The extended order will remain the same as the original order, according to Wolf’s office.
Plan to Reopen
Under Wolf’s reopening plan for the state, regions and counties will move from red to yellow, and then, eventually, to green, under which all pandemic restrictions will be lifted, aside from any federal or state health guidelines that remain in effect.
But even under yellow, a ban on gatherings of over 25 people will remain, and gyms, casinos, theaters, and other indoor recreational, wellness, and entertainment venues will stay closed. Restaurants and bars will still be limited to carry-out or delivery, and businesses must follow federal and state guidance for social distancing and cleaning.
On Thursday, Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine also signed new orders for 24 counties in Pennsylvania’s northcentral and northwest regions to move into the “yellow” phase of the state’s reopening plan beginning Friday, the governor’s office said in a news release.
Tomorrow, 24 counties will move from the red phase to the yellow phase of reopening.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) May 7, 2020
“Tomorrow, 24 counties will move from the red phase to the yellow phase of reopening,” Wolf announced on Twitter Thursday.
“The yellow phase order applies to these 24 counties: 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,” the release states.
Wolf said towards the end of April that he wanted to begin easing some pandemic restrictions on May 8 in areas of Pennsylvania that have been lightly impacted by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
According to Wolf’s adminstration, businesses in counties in the yellow phase will be permitted to reopen beginning Friday morning, given that they follow safety guidelines (pdf) issued for the facility, staff, and customers.
Schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
— Speaker Mike Turzai (@RepTurzai) May 7, 2020
As of May 5, Pennsylvania reported a total of 52,915 CCP virus cases, with 3,416 deaths, according to government data.
Nearly 70 percent of CCP virus fatalities in the state have occurred in nursing homes, personal care homes, and assisted living residences, the speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Mike Turzai, said in a letter Wednesday to chamber members, citing data from the Secretary of Health.
The average age of those who had died as of May 6 was 79 years old, Turzai said, while 61 percent of those who died had hypertension, 54 percent had hear disease, 37 percent had diabetes, and 30 percent had chronic pulmonary disease.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.