12 more Pa. counties, including Philly, set to enter green phase on June 26, Wolf admin says

    Gov. Tom Wolf introduces his police reform plan during a news conference on Thursday, 6/4/20 (screen capture)

    A dozen new counties will enter the green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s color-coded reopening plan, the administration said Friday.

    Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday June 26, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Susquehanna counties will enter the least restricted phase of the administration’s reopening plan.

    In a statement, Wolf’s office said that while Philadelphia is set to go green, the local officials in the state’s largest city will maintain additional restrictions until July 3.

    “When these 12 counties move on June 26, we will have nearly every county in green,” Wolf said in a statement issued by his office. “It’s a testament to the many residents and businesses that have sacrificed over the past three months to stay home and adhere to the guidance the state has provided to protect lives and livelihoods. As we begin to reopen, I urge everyone to stay alert and continue to follow social distancing to maintain the momentum of mitigation we have in place.”

    As of Friday, June 19, 54 counties of the states 67 counties are in the green phase, while 13 remain in the yellow phase.

    The only county in the state that will not enter the green phase on June 26 is Lebanon County. That’s because the county decided to open early in May against the advice of state health officials, the administration said. The county is now facing an uptick in confirmed COVID-19 cases as a result.

    “Lebanon County’s partisan, politically-driven decision to ignore public health experts and reopen prematurely is having severe consequences for the health and safety of county residents,” state Health Secretary Rachel Levine said in a statement. “Case counts have escalated and the county is not yet ready to be reopened. Lebanon County has hindered its progress by reopening too early. Because of this irresponsible decision, Lebanon County residents are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.”

    Through midday Friday, the state Health Department had reported 80,762 confirmed cases, and 6,399 confirmed fatalities.

    John L. Micek
    John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.