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Pennsylvania Health Secretary: “Organized sports are not going to be allowed under the yellow phase.”
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Pennsylvania Health Secretary: “Organized sports are not going to be allowed under the yellow phase.”

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Organized sports will remain on standby in Pennsylvania.

Even though the state Department of Health Friday upgraded 24 counties in the northcentral and northwestern parts of the state to the yellow phase (to start May 8) and will reduce restrictions brought on by COVID-19, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Friday afternoon organized sports are far from ready to return.

Part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s effort to return Pennsylvania to a post-coronavirus normal includes putting counties in one of three phases (red, yellow, green), meant to define the coronavirus-based restrictions applied in those areas.

Team sports, according to the state, will not allowed in the yellow phase.

“Organized sports are not going to be allowed under the yellow phase,” Levine said on a daily coronavirus press briefing. “We’d have to wait to the green phase for that to be allowed. As the governor has been saying, yellow means caution, and it would not be an exercise of caution to let team sports play.”

Cumberland County remains in the red phase past May 8, with no specific timetable for when reducing restrictions will be approached again. Wolf has said easing restrictions for counties still in the red phase will be approached again in the next couple weeks.

No estimate was given for when any county could jump to the green phase.

The initial pitch from Wolf specified that regions must have fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days.

Some southcentral counties eyed for re-opening, Wolf says, as northern region moves to "phase yellow"

On Friday, Wolf said that 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 counties will be moving into the yellow phase May 8.

All the other counties are still following the stay-at-home orders. As of Friday, the state sits at 46,971 confirmed cases and 2,354 deaths.

A breakdown of the Department of Health’s three phases:

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, 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 open with worker and building safety orders
  • Congregate care and prison restrictions in place
  • Schools remain closed for in-person instruction

Social Restrictions

  • Stay at home restrictions lifted in favor of aggressive mitigation
  • Large gatherings of more than 25 prohibited
  • In-person retail allowable, curbside and delivery preferable
  • Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities (such as gyms, spas), and all entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) remain closed
  • Restaurants and bars limited to carry-out and delivery only
  • All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning
  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary

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

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

Social Restrictions

  • Aggressive mitigation orders lifted
  • All individuals must follow CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines
  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary

Photos: Photos: 2019 Carlisle Little League opening day

Email Mallory at mmerda@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @MalloryMerda

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