Red, Yellow, Green: What to Expect in Each of Pa.’s Tiers for Reopening

Red, Yellow, Green: What to Expect in Each of Pa.’s Tiers for Reopening

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Staff, Spotlight PA

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday announced that 24 northwest and north-central Pennsylvania counties will be allowed to reopen in a limited fashion beginning May 8, the first step toward unwinding the stringent coronavirus restrictions in place across the state.

These counties — Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren — will enter the “yellow” phase of Wolf’s tiered reopening.

Here’s what you can expect each step of the way:


This is the most stringent phase and has been in place for all Pennsylvania counties since a statewide stay-at-home order was issued April 1.

Workplace 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


In this phase, state officials will ease some restrictions and allow more businesses to open, but customers can still expect mitigation efforts such as curbside pickup/delivery only and potential limitations on the number of people allowed in store. Closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place.

Workplace restrictions

  • Telework must continue where feasible
  • Businesses with in-person operations must follow business and building safety orders
  • Child care open complying with guidance
  • Congregate care and prison restrictions in place
  • Schools remain closed for in-person instruction

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 cars limited to carry-out and delivery only


This phase removes all restrictions placed upon business operations and social guidelines, though safety guidelines implemented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health must be followed. This phase is considered the “new normal.”

Workplace restrictions

  • All businesses must follow CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines

Social restrictions

  • Aggressive mitigation lifted
  • All individuals must follow CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines

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