After several months of aggressive mitigation, large gathering prohibition, and stay at home orders, most counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are moving into the “green phase” laid out by Governor Tom Wolf. The term “green phase” sounds significantly better than “yellow phase” or “red phase”, but what exactly does it mean?

As much as Pennsylvanians would love to think that this phase means that we are returning back to life as it was, this is not the case. There are still guidelines that businesses and social settings should follow for their own safety and the safety of their customers and participants.

For work settings, telework is strongly encouraged when possible. If employees have the ability to complete their work efficiently at home, that’s what they should be doing. For businesses that require work to occur in person, business and building safety requirements must be followed. Any businesses that were operating at 50% capacity in the yellow phase may operate at 75% capacity in the green phase. New standards have been set for child care centers that allow them to reopen as well. Hospitals and prisons will have their standards set by the facilities themselves, and schools will reopen with guidance from the CDC and state government.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has set guidelines for “social settings” that also impact businesses. Any gatherings of 250 people or more are prohibited completely. While places of worship are excluded from these orders, they are still strongly encouraged to maintain social distancing standards of their own. Restaurants, bars, hair salons, barber shops, indoor recreation facilities, health and wellness facilities, gyms, spas, casinos, theaters, and shopping malls can now open their facilities at 50% capacity. All construction work can resume operating at full capacity with continued implementation of protocols. All businesses are required to follow the cleaning and social distancing guidelines implemented by the CDC and Department of Health.

One of the biggest questions on the mind of Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth is the return of our beloved professional sports. When the green phase was implemented in the majority of counties across Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf also announced that professional sports teams may resume playing games in areas of Pennsylvania that are in the “yellow” and “green” phases of the state’s reopening plan. Unfortunately, fans and spectators will not be allowed to attend these events. Each individual team must develop a COVID-19 safety plan before resuming activity of any kind.

As strange as many of these requirements may have sounded back in January, they are huge steps in the right direction for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at this stage of the game. Many businesses that were not able to earn revenue of any kind will now be able to do so. It’s not quite a return to live as we used to know it, but the “green phase” is something that all Pennsylvanians can be happy about.


Pennsylvania Green Phase COVID-19

Philadelphia Skyline Image by Pierre Blaché from Pixabay

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Jordan Clark