HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s governor loosened restrictions Friday on eight more counties as the state continues to emerge from three months of lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced that Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike and Schuylkill counties are moving from yellow to green under the state’s phased reopening system.
The new designation, which will take effect in one week, allows gyms, barbers and theaters to reopen. Bars and restaurants may allow indoor dining, at half their normal capacity.
Gatherings of up to 250 people are permitted in green zones.
State lawmakers, split largely along party lines, voted this week in the Republican-majority Legislature for a resolution to end the governor’s shutdown, and Senate Republicans promptly filed an action in Commonwealth Court seeking to compel Wolf to follow it. That matter is pending. On Friday, the court ordered the parties to file briefs over the coming two weeks.
By next Friday, 54 of 67 counties will have been designated green. Remaining in the more restrictive yellow phase are Philadelphia and southeastern counties, where the coronavirus has had the worst impact; parts of the Poconos region, Lehigh Valley and northeastern Pennsylvania; and Erie, Lebanon and Lancaster counties.
A dozen more counties joined the green designation on Friday, after Wolf announced their status change a week ago. They are Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Union, Wayne, Wyoming and York.
The Health Department said Friday there were 49 new COVID-19 deaths in the state, bringing the total to 6,162. The 686 additional infections it also reported mean nearly 78,000 Pennsylvanians have been positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began.