UPDATE: Gov. Wolf Sets Next Wave of Counties to 'Go Yellow' as Stay-at-Home Orders Extend to June
Gov. Wolf adds 13 counties to the "yellow" phase of the state's reopening plan; total reaches 37 counties eligible to loosen restrictions.

Thirteen new counties, primarily located in the southwest region of the Commonwealth, will be "next" on the governor's list to begin to loosen strict stay-at-home and business shutdown orders. This makes more than half of Pennsylvania's counties now eligible to partially reopen their economies.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Friday these additional 13 counties will be able to move from the restricted "red" phase to the aggressive mitigation, or "yellow" phase, of the state's color-coded plan to restart the economy. The governor said these new counties will be able to loosen certain restrictions to allow more businesses to open, with safety guidance in place, beginning on May 15.

The new slate of counties eligible to enter the "yellow" phase are primarily located in the southwest tier of the Commonwealth. The full list incl udes Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

Last week, Pennsylvania released the first 24 counties eligible to partially reopen on May 8 as provided under Gov. Wolf's proposal. The governor reminded residents that "yellow still means caution," and people should still practice strong social distancing and mitigation efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

The Wolf Administration provided additional guidance for businesses set to reopen in counties who have been moved from "red" to "yellow." 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 an FAQ document related to the operation of life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania.

The governor's office also provided information on CDC guidance for child care centers, which can be accessed here.

Also, late Thursday evening, Gov. Wolf announced that those counties still under the "red" phase will be required to follow strict stay-at-home orders that are now extended until June 4.
Daily COVID-19 update for Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported more than 1,300 new positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the state total to 54,238. In addition, 3,616 Pennsylvanians have died from complications from the virus. To date, there have been more than 216,000 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 23,161 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1,306 deaths, including probable cases, by Friday afternoon. There have been 4,218 hospitalizations and 1,188 ICU admissions.
Other News...
McNees attorney to host webinar on new Title IX regulations on May 14. New regulations under Title IX have finally been issued by the federal government. The impact of these regulatory requirements is extensive for higher education institutions, and the regulations require compliance by August 14, 2020. McNees attorney Kimberly Colonna will present a webinar on May 14 about the key provisions of the regulations and to discuss compliance.

PennDOT to offer limited services starting May 8. The state's Department of Transportation will begin to offer limited services to the public in "yellow" phase counties beginning Friday, May 8. PennDOT said they will open the first three Driver License Centers in those counties, adhering to restrictions on work and social interaction set by Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pa. Department of Health.

Federal government extends deadlines for several employment-related health and welfare programs. The Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor have announced the extension of certain time frames and deadlines for several employment-related health and welfare programs. In the latest McNees Labor and Employment Blog post, McNees attorney Renee Lieux outlines the new guidance and changes to these federal requirements.

Class action lawsuit filed against PLCB over fees. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in the state's Commonwealth Court to force the agency to repay millions of dollars in fees collected over the last three years. The lawsuit contends that the PLCB intentionally blocked restaurants in Pennsylvania from purchasing wines directly from distributors.

Reduction of poll workers for June primary allowed by the state. The Pennsylvania Department of State announced this week that counties will be able to reduce the number of required poll workers for the upcoming June 2 primary election. Recruiting poll workers has always been a challenge, but the current COVID-19 pandemic has made it nearly impossible for counties to meet the state requirements.
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 .

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

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The House stands adjourned until the call of the chair.

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