Gov. Wolf Lays Out Phased Approach to Reopening of Pa.'s Economy
The Wolf Administration releases details, additional information on Pennsylvania's plan to reopen economy.

Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced plans to slowly, and methodically, reopen the Commonwealth from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. Late Wednesday night, Wolf provided more details of this plan, including his hope to reopen the northwest and northcentral regions of Pennsylvania by May 8.

Wolf unveiled a color-coded plan, categorizing the reopening of the Commonwealth's economy into three phases: red, yellow, green. The phases will be assigned based on certain conditions relating to the prevalence of the novel coronavirus in a county, counties or region. According to the governor's office, the decision to move to a new phase will come from metrics used by the state's Department of Health and a data tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University.

Primarily, the administration's plan requires a county or region to average fewer than 50 new positive cases of the virus per 100,000 residents for 14 days in order to move out of the "red phase." As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, restrictions on work and social interaction will lesson, but closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, as well as limitations around large gatherings, will remain.

The administration will look toward northwest and northcentral Pennsylvania to possibly be the first regions to see these reduced restrictions. Some businesses in those regions would be allowed to call employees back to work, with proper mitigation and saftey measures in place to minimize the spread of the virus. Gyms, theaters and schools would remain closed, and large gatherings would still be prohibited. Restaurants and bars would still only be permitted to offer curbside and takeout services.

Also on Wednesday, the governor announced that construction projects across the state can resume May 1, a full week before the regional and county-by-county reopening plan is set to take place.
On Wednesday evening, Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a color-coded plan to reopen Pennsylvania's economy. Here is a picture of the "phases" and action-items that may or may not be included.
Daily COVID-19 update for Pennsylvania

The state Department of Health reported nearly 1,400 new positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the state total to 37,053. In addition, 1,421 Pennsylvanians have died from complications from the virus ( there’s a decrease of 201 death counts since yesterday because a number of probable death cases were removed from the count after further investigation ). To date, there have been more than 142,000 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 issued on April 15 requires customers entering a place of business to wear a mask.
Other News...
Sen. Toomey unveils 'PA Starts Up Safely' plan to reopen some businesses in Pa. immediately. As a counter proposal to Gov. Tom Wolf's plan to reopen Pennsylvania's economy, Sen. Pat Toomey unveiled his "PA Starts Up Safely" proposal. The 11-page proposal calls for the immediate opening of some businesses across the state, including outdoor construction, car dealerships, plant nurseries, golf courses and re-starting elective surgeries at local hospitals.

Ohio Gov. DeWine to unveil details of May 1 reopening of Buckeye State. Details of Gov. Mike DeWine's plan to reopen Ohio is expected to be released on Monday. The Ohio governor said the state's increased capacity for testing will be a major factor on how it will proceed with plans to reopen, and the state's guidelines will mirror the White House's phased plan, as well as guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control.

New lawsuit aimed to make it easier to vote by mail in Pennsylvania due to COVID-19 pandemic. A political group with Democratic ties is backing a new lawsuit aiming to make it easier to vote by mail in Pennsylvania because of the COVID-19 pandemic.The lawsuit, filed in Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg, says that obstacles created by the novel coronavirus crisis, including health risks for voters and poll workers, should require expanded mail voting.

Western Pa. paramedics are using video to answer emergency calls. Pittsburgh-area paramedics are using secure video links that allow doctors in UPMC emergency rooms to visually examine and assess potential COVID-19 patients through smartphones and tablets.

Pa. State Police see huge drop in accidents, crime since COVID-19 outbreak. The Pennsylvania State Police reported this week that although they have received more calls for assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, responses to accidents and crime have significantly dropped since the novel coronavirus crisis. The PSP used the week of Feb. 22 as its baseline for comparisons to the weeks when the deadly virus prompted stay-at-home orders.
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 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 .
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