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Three Harrisburg-area counties to move to “green” phase next week

PA Gov. Tom Wolf (right) today during his press briefing

Several Harrisburg area counties will step into the green phase next week, as Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday announced plans to further loosen pandemic-imposed restrictions on Cumberland, York and Adams counties.

Wolf made the announcement during a press conference, in which he identified 12 more counties that will make the move on June 12. In addition, they are Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Union, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

“I am very proud of our commonwealth for making it to this point in our reopening,” he said.

Notably, Perry County will not move into the green phase on June 12.

Pennsylvania uses a three-color system to guide Wolf’s stay-at-home and business closure orders: red, yellow and green. The green phase still comes with restrictions, such as encouraging people to wear masks and limiting crowd sizes.

Just today, all remaining “red” counties in PA, mostly in the Philadelphia metro area, entered the middle “yellow” phase, where the entire Harrisburg area currently is. In addition, 34 counties are now in the green phase.

Notably, in the green phase, restaurants, bars, theaters and personal care services, such as salons, can operate at 50 percent capacity.

Responding to reporters’ questions, Wolf and Rachel Levine, secretary of the state Department of Health, both said they’re now working on guidelines for what comes after the green phase.

“As we continue to bend the curve, as we continue to see a decline in new cases, the number of restrictions in green, in terms of businesses and restaurants, etc., we’ll be able to relax,” Levine said. “We don’t intend to continue those restrictions forever, but we’ll have to be alert and vigilant.”

Both Wolf and Levine warned that they’re concerned about case numbers increasing again during the fall.

“There may be a resurgence as we get into flu season later this year,” Wolf said.

In the meantime, the state’s strategy is to “identify, isolate and eliminate” COVID-19 through testing and contact tracing, he said.

Absent a vaccine, Wolf said that he expected we’ll have to adjust to a “new normal” following the green phase.

“So, we’re working on—what does life look like?” he said. “We’ll probably all be wearing masks and all going to be practicing social distancing, being a little more careful in terms of touching other folks. We’re trying to find out what the new world looks like.”

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