Twelve More Pa. Counties Move to 'Yellow' Phase, CDC Issues Long-Awaited Guidance on Reopening
(photo courtesy of Erie News Now)
Gov. Wolf announced on Friday additional counties to move into "yellow" of the state's three-phased plan to reopen the economy.

The governor announced that effective May 22, Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne and York counties will be the next set of counties moving from the "red" phase to the "yellow" phase of the administration's reopening plan. This will make 49 counties in the Commonwealth, making up roughly 40 percent of the state's population , that have been approved to loosen some restrictions on stay-at-home and business shutdown orders.

The latest slate of counties approved by the governor to ease some restrictions come as he and Republican members of the General Assembly and some local elected officials continue to spar over his reopening plan. Earlier this week, the state Legislature sent several proposals to the governor that would force the administration to reopen businesses and give counties the authority to manage their own mitigation strategies. Gov. Wolf said he will veto all of these new proposals.

On Friday, Gov. Wolf once again made an appeal to Pennsylvania businesses and residents still in "red" phase counties to remain patient as the state slowly lifts strict shutdown orders. He said his administration is working hard to reduce the pain felt in "red" counties and is looking at metrics used by the state's Department of Health and a data tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University to determine which areas are trending in the right direction.

At least one county, Lebanon, that was not included in the governor's latest list to move out of "red" and into "yellow" immediately approved a resolution that would reopen the county without state approval. Also, county commissioners in Dauphin criticized the governor for inconsistencies in his approval process.

For those counties approved by the governor to move into the "yellow" phase, the Wolf Administration provided additional guidance last week 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 related to the operation of life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania. Also, the governor's office provided information on CDC guidance for child care centers, which can be accessed here.

As Gov. Wolf continues to rollout his phased approach to reopening the state's economy, the federal Centers for Disease Control issued much anticipated guidance on Thursday for schools, restaurants, bars and other businesses who wish to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC created six "decision trees," or flow charts, to provide tips and checklists for workplaces before they reopen.
Read More: Here are the six CDC "flow charts": Camps, Child Care Programs, Mass Transit, Restaurants And Bars, Schools and Workplaces.
With the new guidelines, the CDC recommended that restaurants and bars should not open if they are violating local laws, and cannot promote good hygiene, increased cleaning, social distancing and provide lenient sick leave policies. The CDC also recommended that businesses, schools and workplaces looking to reopen under its guidelines should consider whether doing so is consistent with state and local stay-at-home orders.
Daily COVID-19 update for Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 986 new positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the state total to 60,622. In addition, 4,342 Pennsylvanians have died from complications from the virus. To date, there have been nearly 260,000 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 26,954 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1,581 deaths, including probable cases, by Friday afternoon. There have been 4,791 hospitalizations and 1,277 ICU admissions.
Other News...
PLCB issues notice of risks to licensee violating Gov. Wolf executive orders. As some counties begin to reopen and loosen restrictions on businesses within their borders against the Wolf administration's stay-at-home orders, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board issued a notice warning liquor licensees of the risks to opening without state approval. McNees attorney Kimberly Selemba provides an update on the new notice by the PLCB in the latest McNees Food & Beverage Client Alert.

Dr. Levine stresses importance of well-visit vaccines for children. This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine reminded citizens of the importance of well-child visits, primarily because of important vaccines they receive, especially those needed to return to school in fall. Pediatricians have made changes to the way they see patients to ensure they receive care during the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes include scheduling well visits and sick visits at different times of day and separating patients by placing those with sick visits in different areas of primary care facilities.

Pa. mayors ask for federal funding for COVID-19 crisis. Fifteen mayors from across Pennsylvania signed a letter to the state's congressional delegation asking Congress to pass funding for local governments impacted by the COVID-9 pandemic. The letter requests a total of at least $250 billion in funding to be part of the next CARES Act relief package.

Western Pa. builders take Gov. Wolf to court over COVID-19 guidelines. The Builders Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh is suing Gov. Tom Wolf over his guidelines and regulations for construction during the COVID-19 pandemic. The complaint filed in Commonwealth Court states that the governor and the state's health secretary have violated the equal protections of member businesses.
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 .

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

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The House stands adjourned until Monday, May 18 at 1:00 p.m.

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