Neighboring counties just minutes away from the city of Corry will move into the green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's color-coded plan to reopen Pennsylvania on Friday as Erie County remains in the yellow phase.
Warren and Crawford counties are among 17 counties that will be in the green phase — the least restrictive phase — effective 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 29.
The other counties moving to green are Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Venango.
"We're monitoring the first 24 counties that moved to yellow closely to see if there's been a significant change over the last 14 days now that social distancing has been relaxed," Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said during the Wolf administration's press conference on Friday. "The 17 counties going to green have been able to maintain the yellow metrics for 14 days showing that they are ready to make this move to the green phase."
As residents in the counties going green look forward to getting back to a sense of normality, Wolf reminded them that some precautions will still be in place under the green phase, which allows all businesses to reopen.
"Some precautions will continue to be in effect for the safety of residents. These precautions will provide the greatest freedom while preventing certain situations that are known to be catalysts for the transmission of COVID-19," Wolf said during the press conference. "While all businesses may resume operations, including restaurants and bars, many will have reduced capacity. Large entertainment gatherings such as concerts, festivals, sporting events, will continue to be restricted. Teleworking will continue to be encouraged. Nursing home visitation will continue to be restricted, and hospitals and prison may have visitation restricted on a case-by-case basis if deemed necessary."
Under the green phase, all businesses operating at 50% occupancy in the yellow phase may increase to 70% occupancy; child care may open complying with guidance; restaurants and bars may open at 50% occupancy, personal care services (including hair salons and barbershops) may open at 50% occupancy and by appointment only; indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities and personal care services (such as gyms and spas) may open at 50% occupancy with appointments strongly encouraged; and all entertainment (such as casinos, theaters and shopping malls) may open at 50% occupancy.
Guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Health must continue to be observed while in the green phase.
"And this includes wearing masks in public, washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, self isolating when sick and implementing social distancing," Wolf said.
Erie County will stay in the yellow phase where there's a limit on gatherings of more than 25 people and certain business restrictions still in place.
Eight counties will move into yellow on Friday, including Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill, and all remaining counties in red are expected to move to yellow by June 5.
Counties that remain in red on May 29 and are expected to move to yellow by June 5 include Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.
In deciding which counties to move to yellow, the state used risk-based metrics from Carnegie Mellon University combined with contact tracing and testing capability and a sustained reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to a press release. While the 50 new cases per 100,000 population was considered, it did not weigh any more heavily than other factors.