Gov. Wolf: All Counties in Pa. to Move Into 'Yellow' Phase by June 5, Summer Camp FAQs Released
Wolf administration announces eight more counties eligible to move into "yellow" phase on May 29. All remaining counties to be in "yellow" by June 5.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Friday that he intends to move the remaining 18 counties currently still in the "red" phase of his reopening plan into "yellow" by June 5 .

The governor said that effective May 29, eight more Pennsylvania counties will move into the "yellow" phase of the administration's reopening plan. This includes Dauphin County, which incorporates the state's capital city and seat of state government. Other counties moving into "yellow" next week are Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike and Schuylkill. The governor added that the remaining counties will be in the "yellow" phase by June 5.

In addition, the governor announced the first set of counties eligible to move into the "green" phase of his color-coded plan, continuing the Commonwealth's slow and deliberate loosening of stay-at-home and business closure restrictions. The governor said nearly 20 counties will move into the "green" phase next week, mostly located in the Northern and Central tier of the Commonwealth. In the "green" phase, aggressive mitigation orders and restrictions on business activities and gatherings will be lifted, other than federal and state social-distancing and health-monitoring guidelines that help stop the spread of the virus. This will include continued restrictions on large gatherings, like concerts, festivals and sporting events, as well as limitations on capacity for restaurants and bars.

With his announcement on Friday, the governor has now provided a path for all of the state's 67 counties to move out of strict quarantine protocols. And with several counties moving into the more flexible "green" phase of the governor's plan by the end of next week, many local communities are hopeful that the state has turned a corner in mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus. The governor warned, however, that the virus is still a significant threat to the Commonwealth, and that precautions still need to be taken to limit its spread. The administration will continue to utilize metrics developed by the state's Department of Health and a data tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University to determine which areas continue to trend in the right direction.

The governor's announcement on Friday comes a day after a House committee advanced legislation that would terminate the administration's COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration, effectively ending the state's authority to institute stay-at-home and business shutdown orders. The General Assembly continues to challenge the governor's phased reopening plan, passing legislation forcing the administration to grant waivers for several industries across the state. Earlier this week, the House failed to override Gov. Tom Wolf's veto of House Bill 2388, legislation that would have required the state to issue waivers for several industries across the Commonwealth.
Wolf administration issues FAQs on reopening of summer recreation, camps and pools.

On Friday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released guidance on the status of summer camps and other recreational child care programs that provide necessary activities for children and youth during the summer months.

The FAQs document announced by the administration on Friday includes guidance on the types of summer programs permitted to operate, group sizes and face-covering requirements for programs that are permitted to operate in counties in the "yellow" phase, and status of public playgrounds during the phased reopening. In addition, the FAQs answer questions regarding community pools, campgrounds and facilities operated by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

According to the administration, the guidance does not apply to public school-operated summer programs or extended school year services. Guidance related to public schools will be released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education at a later date.

With the expectation that all counties will be approved by Gov. Tom Wolf to move into the "yellow" phase by the beginning of June, the administration is providing general guidance for businesses and organizations on how best to reopen. The updated guidance offers details on the procedures businesses must follow to conduct in-person operations, based on building and business safety orders previously released. The administration also developed a FAQ document specifically related to the operation of life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania.
Memorial Day 2020: Opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the holiday
Capitol Buzz Commentary

With the world still immersed in the COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial Day this year will be significantly different for most Americans. The holiday usually signifies the unofficial start of "summer" across the U.S., but with social distancing and other mitigations efforts in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, traditional picnics, barbecues and parades will not be the norm this weekend.

But that may not be a bad thing.

This year could be the opportunity for all of us to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday, and add to it a new slate of heroes who have helped us manage during these uncertain and unprecedented times.

Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. It was originally called Decoration Day, first beginning in the years following the Civil War, and became an official federal holiday in 1971. It has also become an opportunity in recent years, especially after September 11, 2001, to remember those men and women we lost serving in other roles that protect the public safety, including law enforcement, emergency services personnel and firefighters.

This year, as we remain immersed in a global pandemic, fighting a war against an invisible enemy, we have the opportunity to not be distracted as we remember and reflect on those members of the military who fought and died to protect this nation. And to also remember and honor the sacrifice of our law enforcement officials and public safety professionals who died to protect us. Right now, in these most challenging of times, we have the opportunity to remember and honor our front line workers, especially those who are putting themselves at risk to make sure we are all healthy and safe.

From those of us at Capitol Buzz, we would like to thank ALL of our heroes, past and present, for their sacrifices, especially those who paid the ultimate price to protect us and our families.

We hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend. Unless there is breaking news to report over the weekend, Capitol Buzz will resume publication on Tuesday, May 26.
Daily COVID-19 update for Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 866 new positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the state total to 66,258. In addition, 4,984 Pennsylvanians have died from complications from the virus. To date, there have been nearly 313,000 negative cases across the state.

Gov. Tom Wolf is still asking all Pennsylvanians who must leave their homes for life-essential reasons to wear a mask to help stop the spread of the virus . An executive order was issued on April 15 requiring customers entering a place of business to wear a mask.

Daily COVID-19 update for Ohio

The Ohio Department of Health reported 30,794 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1,872 deaths, including probable cases, by Friday afternoon. There have been 5,379 hospitalizations and 1,416 ICU admissions.
Other News...
Sen. Toomey holds virtual panel on youth sports to discuss safe return to play. Understanding the importance of physical and mental health for Pennsylvania's youth, Sen. Pat Toomey held a virtual round table on Thursday to discuss how safely resume youth sports activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel included former professional athletes, such as Philadelphia Phillies player Jimmy Rollins and famed softball player Jennie Finch, as well as the president of Little League Baseball, Stephen Keener, former Los Angeles Angels general manager Tony Reagins and Stanford public health expert Dr. Jay Bhattacharya.

Jobless rates continue to rise in Pa., hits highest level in 40 years. Pennsylvania's unemployment reached an historic high this week, rising above 15 percent to its highest rate in over four decades. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, the Commonwealth's unemployment rate more than doubled in April, at the height of the business shutdown orders implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition, payrolls fell by more than 1 million to the lowest level in at least three decades.

Could recreational marijuana be a budget savior? Some Pa. Republicans think it could. With the state facing a significant budget deficit, and anticipation of a lagging economy to follow, some Republican legislators are looking at the potential of legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

Gov. Wolf announces funding for charitable food projects. More than $9 million will be distributed by the Wolf administration to non-profit entities for projects to fight hunger and prevent food waste. The awards come from the expanded Food Recovery Infrastructure grant program announced in April.
Unprecedented times, but McNees is here to help
The situation surrounding COVID-19 is changing by the hour. Capitol Buzz will do its best to keep our readers as up-to-date as possible as to local, state and federal actions relating to the virus.

As we have stated in previous editions, for those businesses seeking guidance or assistance on how to proceed during this unprecedented time, please contact the McNees Labor and Employment Practice Group , or for government relations and nonprofit consulting assistance please contact the McNees Strategic Solutions Group (MSSG) .

You can also visit the McNees COVID-19 Article & Resource Page for more information on various legal and political issues created by the novel coronavirus.

For more information on what you can do to protect yourself and others, check out the CDC's coronavirus information page or visit www.health.pa.gov .
2020 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE

The Senate stands in recess until the call of the President Pro Tempore.

June
1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30
2020 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

The House stands in recess until the call of the chair.

May
26, 27
June
8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30
September
15, 16, 17, 29, 30
October
1, 5, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21
November
10
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