Business Government

Red, Yellow, Green: What The State’s Reopening Phases Mean


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As COVID-19 mitigation measures begin to ease, what does Pennsylvania’s “red,” “yellow,” and “green” phases mean. What’s allowed? What’s not?

On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf confirmed that the stay-at-home order will expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. On Friday, Bucks County will move to the yellow phase, allowing many businesses to resume some sort of in-person operation.

“As phased reopening continues and all 67 counties are either in the yellow or green phase by Friday, we will no longer have a stay-at-home order in effect,” Gov. Wolf said. “I remind Pennsylvanians that yellow means caution and even in the green phase everyone needs to take precautions to keep themselves and their communities healthy.”

According to the state, here’s what each phase allows:

Red Phase
Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
Life Sustaining Businesses Only
Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
Schools (for in-person instruction) and Most Child Care Facilities Closed
Social Restrictions
Stay at Home Orders in Place
Large Gatherings Prohibited
Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
Only Travel for Life-Sustaining Purposes Encouraged
  • Reiterate and reinforce safety guidance for businesses, workers, individuals, facilities, update if necessary
  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary

As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place. For example, retail locations will be able to open with forthcoming guidance in place that is substantially similar to the worker safety and building safety order. Otherwise retail will be able to allow for curbside pickup. The purpose of this phase is to begin to power back up the economy while keeping a close eye on the public health data to ensure the spread of disease remains contained to the greatest extent possible.

Yellow Phase
Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety Orders
Child Care May Open Complying with Guidance
Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
Schools may provide in-person instruction only in accordance with Department of Education guidance.
Social Restrictions
Stay at Home Order Lifted for Aggressive Mitigation
Large Gatherings of More Than 25 Prohibited
In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities and Personal Care Services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
Restaurants and Bars May Open Outdoor Dining, in Addition to Carry-Out and Delivery (effective 6/5/2020)
  • All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning
  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary

After a county transitions to the yellow phase, we will closely monitor for increased risk, such as significant outbreaks. If overall risk remains mitigated for fourteen days, we will transition the county to the green phase.

The green phase eases most restrictions by lifting the stay at home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health.

While this phase will facilitate a return to a “new normal,” it will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.

Green Phase
Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
Continued Telework Strongly Encouraged
Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Updated Business and Building Safety Requirements
All Businesses Operating at 50% Occupancy in the Yellow Phase May Increase to 75% Occupancy
Child Care May Open Complying with Guidance
Congregate Care Restrictions in Place
Prison and Hospital Restrictions Determined by Individual Facilities
Schools Subject to CDC and Commonwealth Guidance
Social Restrictions
Large Gatherings of More Than 250 Prohibited
Restaurants and Bars Open at 50% Occupancy
Personal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) Open at 50% Occupancy and by Appointment Only
Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities, and Personal Care Services (such as gyms and spas) Open at 50% Occupancy with Appointments Strongly Encouraged
All Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) Open at 50% Occupancy
Construction Activity May Return to Full Capacity with Continued Implementation of Protocols
  • All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning
  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary

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