Gov. Wolf Provides Details, Guidance for Businesses Set to Reopen in Counties Under 'Yellow' Phase
New guidelines issued as 24 counties enter "yellow" phase on May 8.

Gov. Tom Wolf provided additional guidance this week for businesses set to reopen in counties who have been moved from "red" to "yellow" under the administration's three-phased, color coded plan to restart Pennsylvania's economy. 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 by the administration.

Last Friday, Pennsylvania released the first slate of counties eligible to partially reopen on May 8 as provided under Gov. Wolf's proposal to slowly reopen the Commonwealth and loosen stay-at-home orders. Twenty-four counties, all in the northern region of the state, will be moved into the "yellow" phase.

Under the new guidance, manufacturing plants, retail stores and offices that were forced to close in mid-March to help stop the spread of coronavirus and were not considered "life-sustaining" will be permitted to reopen. The administration said companies that have been operating remotely must continue to operate via telework options to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. In addition, the administration said businesses under the categories specifically listed in the governor’s Plan to Reopen Pennsylvania as remaining closed in the "yellow" phase must stay closed.

On Monday, during a state Senate hearing on the governor's plan to reopen the state's economy, administration officials said they will consider reopening the state on a county-by-county basis, rather than a regional approach that was outlined in the governor's initial reopening plan. In a call with reporters on Tuesday, Gov. Wolf did not provide a timetable as to when other counties might be moved into the "yellow" phase, but indicated counties in the southcentral and southwest part of the Commonwealth could move phases "relatively quickly."

Also this week, Pennsylvania's Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said that testing will continue to be critical to the state's reopening plan. She said comprehensive testing will also be vital for the Commonwealth to be prepared for a second, potentially more intense wave of novel coronavirus in the fall.
Daily COVID-19 update for Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 865 new positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the state total to 50,957. In addition, 3,012 Pennsylvanians have died from complications from the virus. To date, there have been nearly 200,000 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 20,969 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1,135 deaths, including probable cases, by Tuesday afternoon. There have been 3,956 hospitalizations and 1,123 ICU admissions.
Other News...
McNees attorney to moderate IAGA panel on future of iGaming in North America. As part of the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA) free Best Practices webinar series focusing on critical issues facing global gaming, McNees attorney Frank Donaghue will moderate a panel of experts on Thurs., May 7 at 11 a.m. EST regarding the expansion of iGaming in North America and what the future might hold for casinos amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Pennsylvania's casino industry accounts for more than $1.5 billion in annual revenue and is responsible for more than 33,000 direct and indirect jobs across the Commonwealth. Since the novel coronavirus forced the closure of the state's casinos, Pennsylvania has lost roughly $250 million in revenue.

Pa. House Judiciary Committee sends 'Cody's Law' to floor for vote. Legislation that would strengthen protections for people with physical and intellectual disabilities was passed out of the state House Judiciary Committee on Monday, sending the proposal to the full House for a vote. The bill, House Bill 2056, named "Cody's Law," is dedicated to Cody Overdorff who was attacked by four individuals back in August.

And they're off? Will horse racing be allowed to resume in Pa.? The Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, in his role as the chairman of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, officially sent a letter asking Gov. Tom Wolf to allow live horse racing to resume across the Commonwealth. In the letter, Sec. Russell Redding said he believes the state's racetracks could implement strict social distancing and other safety protocols, and resume live racing statewide without fans present.

One million Pennsylvanians have applied for mail-in ballots for June 2 primary. Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Monday that nearly one million Pennsylvanians have applied for mail-in ballots to be used for the primary election slated for June 2. Mail-in ballots were approved in 2019 as part of the state's election reform initiative.

Pew Charitable Trust to provide millions of dollars in grants to Phila.-area nonprofits. On Monday, Pew Charitable Trusts announced neatly $7 million in grants, over a three year period, to 38 Philadelphia-area nonprofits that serve adults struggling with homelessness, mental-health issues, extended unemployment and other problems.
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

18, 19, 20
1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30

The House stands adjourned until the call of the chair.

11, 12, 13, 18(NV)
8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30
15, 16, 17, 29, 30
1, 5, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21
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