Gov. Wolf Eases Pandemic Restrictions on Allegheny County
The county is among several in the region that will move from the “red” to “yellow” reopening phase on May 15.
Gov. Tom Wolf today lifted the strongest pandemic restrictions on Allegheny, Westmoreland, Greene, Butler, Armstrong and Fayette counties and seven others beginning Friday, May 15. Beaver County is the only county surrounding Allegheny not on the list that moves from the “red” to the “yellow” phase.
“We have been singled out because of one isolated nursing home outbreak the Pennsylvania Department of Health utterly failed to assist immediately,” Beaver County Commissioner Daniel Camp told the Tribune-Review.
Thursday, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb called for an investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center where there have been more than 300 cases and 71 deaths.
Also moving to “yellow” in the region are Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Indiana, Somerset and Washington counties.
The move from the “red” to the “yellow” phase for the rest of southwestern Pennsylvania comes the same day 24 mostly rural counties in the state entered the “yellow” phase for the first time.
“The reopening plan prioritizes the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians by using a combination of factors to gauge how much movement a location can tolerate before the 2019 novel coronavirus becomes a threat,” Gov. Wolf said. “I’d like to emphasize that this plan is not a one-way route. We are closely monitoring the 24 counties in the yellow phase and will re-impose restrictions if danger arises.”
While the restrictions will ease a week from today in the Pittsburgh area, the way business is conducted will still be far from normal.
- Child care centers can resume operations with certain safety precautions. CDC guidance on child care that reopens under the yellow phase can be found here.
- Businesses that cannot accommodate employees working from home will be allowed to reopen their offices, but they must provide masks to workers and ensure social distancing.
- Businesses that have been operating remotely through individual telework of their employees must continue to telework until the stay-at-home and business closure orders are fully lifted.
- Many other businesses, including indoor malls, gyms, theaters and schools, will remain closed.
- Restaurants and bars are only allowed to remain open for takeout and delivery.
- All gatherings are limited to no more than 25 people.
FAQs for businesses in each phase can be found here.
The state has been collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University to closely monitor impacts of risk factors such as the number of reported COVID-19 cases per population of an area, ICU and medical/surgical bed capacity, population density, the percentage of an area’s population over age 60 and the number of workers employed in a currently closed industry sector.
The CMU data was considered along with each county or region’s ability to conduct testing and contact-tracing.