This afternoon, Governor Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed an amended Yellow Phase Order to include 10 counties, including Delaware County. Under the order, Delaware County will move to the Yellow Phase of the Governor’s phased reopening plan at 12:01am on June 5.
“This is a sign that the efforts we have been making as a community to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have been working and have been recognized by the Governor’s Office and the Pennsylvania Department of Health,” said Delaware County Council Chairman Brian Zidek. “We are seeing the numbers go down and we know that in part, it’s due to the measures that many of our residents have taken. We were able to get ahead of this virus and stop it from claiming even more lives and prevent it from overpowering our healthcare systems.”
As of June 4, there were over 73,942 positive cases in the state and 5,817 deaths. There were 6,642 positive cases in Delaware County and 613 deaths to COVID-19. The Chester County Health Department began adding recovery data to the COVID-19 dashboard this week. As of June 4, 70% of residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.
It’s been over 10 weeks since the Governor issued the Stay-at-Home Order on March 23. It’s been extremely difficult for many residents and downright devastating for others, namely those who have lost loved ones to the virus, and business owners who are struggling to pay their bills and keep their businesses open. Delaware County Council has been doing everything within their ability to help bring Delaware County to this Yellow Phase and begin to ease restrictions in both a safe and timely manner that does not jeopardize the lives of our residents.
As Delaware County moves into the Yellow Phase, it’s important to remind residents that yellow is not green. There are restrictions and guidelines that have been put into place for the safety of all residents. This includes the public, business owners, and their employees.
Under the Yellow Phase:
The current stay-at-home order is lifted
Gatherings under 25 people are permitted
Many businesses will be allowed to open but will be required to follow state guidance to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak
Telework must continue where feasible
Retail stores can reopen but are encouraged to offer delivery and curbside pickup as much as possible
Child Care Centers can open with guidance
Schools can operate some programs with guidance. Dr. Taylor will elaborate on that.
Restaurants and bars can offer outdoor dining and can continue to offer takeout and delivery. Indoor dining is still restricted.
Gyms, salons, malls, movie theaters, and casinos will remain closed
There is specific guidance for businesses reopening in the Yellow Phase. Delaware County Council, the Delaware County Commerce Center, and the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce have joined together to convene a task force to assist business leaders both before and during the phased reopening.
The Bringing Back Delco Task Force, comprised of community, business and government representatives is assisting and supporting the Delaware County business community to ensure a safe reopening of the local economy.
The Task Force has created a website and is offering webinars to assist business owners with safety guidelines, reopening protocols and plans, and industry-specific information. The website also includes downloadable flyers and graphics for business owners to display and share with their employees. A helpline has also been set up for business owners and managers who have questions and need help navigating the CDC and state guidelines and who may need support interpreting the guidance. They have also opened an online small business support store to help businesses procure the supplies they will likely need to reopen safely, many of which are in short supply. The website is: www.BringingBackDelco.com
“As we move into yellow, please be mindful that this is not green and we are not in the clear yet.” said Trish McFarland, President of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. “Be patient with our business owners, their employees as well as other patrons as they re-open.”
Residents are also urged to adhere to the COVID-19 safety guidance.
Continuing to wear a mask in public
Allowing for social distancing of at least 6 feet
Washing your hands with soap and water
Sneezing and coughing into your elbow
Staying home if you have symptoms of the virus.
The Governor also announced that, based on the progress counties make to keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum while in the Yellow Phase, counties may move into the Green Phase as soon as the end of June. Under the Green Phase, businesses will be allowed to open and there are no restrictions on social gatherings, but all residents and businesses should still follow CDC and Health Department guidelines.
“As we approach the Yellow Phase, we need to do so in a way that continues to allow for the safety and health of the entire community. We must remain vigilant to ensure we don’t trigger further outbreaks,” said Zidek. “A future spike in positive cases could set counties back to a Red Phase.”
More details on the Governor’s Reopening Phase can be found here: www.governor.pa.gov/process-to-reopen-pennsylvania/
More information on the guidance for schools can be found here: https://www.delcopa.gov/ich/resources/covid19/pdf/GovWolf_ReopeningSchools.pdf