Southeast Pennsylvania counties advance to green phase; Philly upholds some restrictions

The suburbs have advanced into the green phase of the state's reopening plan. Gyms, salons, barbershops, indoor dining, and entertainment venues are some of the businesses that will return with mitigation guidelines.

Elsewhere in the state, Erie, Lackawanna, and Susquehanna also moved into the green phase on Friday. Sixty-six of Pennsylvania's sixty-seven counties are under the most relaxed restrictions since the pandemic grasped the state in April. Lebanon County remains the only outlier after a defiant reopening resulted in a spike in new cases.

Counties in the green phase will enjoy the return of indoor entertainment and recreation businesses, such as movie theaters, casinos, and shopping malls. Likewise, restaurants and bars can reopen for indoor dining with a 50 percent capacity cap.

Salons, barbershops, gyms, spas other personal care services can now reopen under the green phase. All health and wellness facilities must operate at 50 percent capacity, and health officials are recommending visits be made by appointment.

Outdoor gatherings size is now limited to 250 people under the green phase, which represents a noticeable leap from the yellow phase outdoor limit of up to 25 people. 

After being stubbornly stuck in the red phase, Philadelphia and neighboring counties were advanced to the yellow phase on June 4. While moving from red to yellow brought incremental changes, the shift eliminated the stay-at-home order and increased outdoor gathering size. 

Now, just over three weeks later, Wolf and state leaders agreed that leveling case numbers and a sustained trend of manageable hospitalizations allows the most densely populated region of Pennsylvania to move green. 

 The City of Philadelphia issued a mandatory order on masks and face coverings requiring residents to wear them in public places as a new spike in cases threatens to delay the city's reopening.

Health Department Director Dr. Thomas Farley indicated Friday that targets the city needs to meet in order to move to their own green phase by their anticipated July 3 reopening date have not been met.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.


The Associated Press contributed to this report


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