Franklin County is going 'green' Friday

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Franklin County has been given the green light by Gov. Tom Wolf, according to a news release from his office late last week.

Pennsylvania's governor announced that Franklin, Dauphin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike and Schuylkill counties are moving from "yellow" to "green" under the state's phased reopening system on Friday, June 19.

The COVID-19 county dashboard on the Department of Health website also listed Franklin County as "turning green on 6/19/20."

The new designation allows gyms, barbers and theaters to reopen. Bars and restaurants may allow indoor dining, at half their normal capacity.

Gatherings of up to 250 people are permitted in green zones.

State lawmakers, split largely along party lines, voted last week in the Republican-majority Legislature for a resolution to end the Democratic governor's shutdown, and Senate Republicans promptly filed an action in Commonwealth Court seeking to compel Wolf to follow it. That matter is pending. On June 12, the court ordered the parties to file briefs over the coming two weeks.

By this Friday, 54 of 67 counties will have been designated green. Remaining in the more restrictive yellow phase are Philadelphia and southeastern counties, where the coronavirus has had the worst impact; parts of the Poconos region, Lehigh Valley and northeastern Pennsylvania; and Erie, Lebanon and Lancaster counties.

A dozen more counties joined the green designation on June 12, after Wolf announced their status change a week earlier. They are Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Union, Wayne, Wyoming and York.

Pennsylvania has reported 6,165 total virus deaths, and nearly to 78,800 people have been infected.

Green Phase: What are the rules? 

This phase is considered the "new normal." Although most restrictions on business operations and social guidelines are lifted, safety guidelines implemented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health must be followed.

Workplace and congregate setting restrictions 

Continued telework strongly encouraged

Businesses with in-person operations must follow updated business and building safety requirements

All businesses operating at 50% occupancy in the yellow phase may increase to 75% occupancy

Child care may open complying with guidance

Congregate care restrictions in place

Prison and hospital restrictions determined by individual facilities

Schools subject to CDC and commonwealth guidance

Social restrictions 

Large recreational gatherings remain restricted. Any gathering greater than 250 individuals is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, a concert, festival, fair, conference, sporting event, movie showing, or theater performance

Masks required when entering a business

Restaurants and bars open at 50% occupancy

Personal care services such as hair salons and barbershops open at 50% occupancy and by appointment only

Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities, and personal care services such as gyms and spas open at 50% occupancy with appointments strongly encouraged

Casinos, theaters, and shopping malls open at 50% occupancy

Construction activity may return to full capacity with continued implementation of protocols