Wolf Administration to Announce Friday
Which Counties Can Reopen on May 8
During the state's daily press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday, Pennsylvania's Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine told reporters that Gov. Tom Wolf will announce Friday the first list of counties that will be able to begin reopening on May 8.

Last week, the governor announced plans to slowly reopen the Commonwealth and loosen stay-at-home orders beginning May 8 with communities located in the northwest and northcentral regions of the state. Gov. Wolf outlined a three-phased, color-coded plan that would move counties between phases depending on the number of new cases that exist over a two-week period and the availability of COVID-19 testing.

Sec. Levine explained on Tuesday that the state has not yet grouped any counties together, and the governor clarified that as his administration looks at different regions of the Commonwealth, the state will not be beholden to any specific map. Gov. Wolf said his administration will try to make "common sense decisions" regarding opening up counties, and the state will be as "logical and rational as possible" in those decisions.

The Commonwealth has already started to ease restrictions on certain activities, amending business closure orders that will allow certain industries to reopen on May 1. Yesterday, the governor announced that some businesses that operate outdoor activities in Pennsylvania will be able to reopen, including golf courses and marinas, on Friday. In addition, Gov. Wolf announced last week that construction projects throughout the state will also be allowed to resume on Friday, following strict guidelines issued by the Department of Health.
Daily COVID-19 update for Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported more than 1,200 new positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the state total to 43,264. In addition, 1,716 Pennsylvanians have died from complications from the virus. To date, there have been nearly 166,000 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 16,769 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 799 deaths, including probable cases, by Tuesday afternoon. There have been 3,340 hospitalizations and 1,004 ICU admissions.

As previously reported, Gov. Mike DeWine is requiring all employees and customers entering a place of business to wear a facial covering.
Other News...
Wolf Administration expands grants for food infrastructure to respond to needs of Pa. residents. Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Tuesday that his administration will make immediate and necessary changes to the state's Food Recovery Infrastructure Grant program to ensure that Pennsylvania food banks are adequately supplied to meet the needs of residents during the COVID-19 crisis.

Amtrak to continue suspended services in Pa. until May 18. Officials with the state's Department of Transportation said that Amtrak has extended its suspended passenger service between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia until at least May 18. State officials said with Gov. Tom Wolf extending stay-at-home orders throughout the Commonwealth until May 8, the Pennsylvanian and Keystone trains will not resume service May 4 as tentatively planned.

Pa. pays out $3.5 billion in unemployment claims. According to the state's Department of Labor and Industry, Pennsylvania has paid out $3.5 billion in unemployment benefits to its citizens, and will likely need federal assistance to ensure the system does not run out of money.

Phila. tourism takes big hit during COVID-19 pandemic. Philadelphia's robust and popular tourism industry has lost nearly $1 billion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and faces a long road back to recovery. Philadelphia's hospitality industry supports almost 200,000 jobs across the city and its four suburban Pennsylvania counties.
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 .

The Senate stands in recess until Wednesday, April 29 at 11:00 a.m.

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The House stands adjourned until Wednesday, April 29 at 11:00 a.m.

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