Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that Centre County will move from the yellow to the green phase of reopening this Friday. Centre County Commissioners voted unanimously earlier Tuesday to ask Wolf to move up the county's reopening, after first asking him to delay it until June 5.
Wolf said he had originally planned to include Centre County in the first group of counties to move to the green phase this Friday before the commissioners asked for the change. Centre County will now move to green along with 17 other counties.
Centre County Commissioners Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins, both Democrats, had asked Wolf to let the county stay in the yellow phase until after the June 2 primary election. The commissioners said they were concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in the community during in-person voting and worried about the safety of poll workers.
On Sunday, Pipe announced that he would retract the request of a week’s delay, saying his concerns have been addressed by the Department of Health.
“We discussed the low amount of cases of COVID-19, increased utilization of vote-by-mail, and the measures the Centre County Elections Board has taken, including but not limited to, providing PPE to poll workers, moving voting locations out of long term care facilities, and the reduction of ‘high contact surfaces’ at the polling locations,” Pipe wrote on a Facebook post.
Under the green phase, all businesses are allowed to reopen. Restaurants, gyms, salons, theaters, and others that weren’t operating in the yellow phase will be reopening at 50% capacity. Businesses that were reopening under the yellow phase can now increase to 75% capacity.
Vern Squier, President and CEO of the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County, said in a statement that local businesses have “endured a high economic price and [are] looking forward to safely reopening and beginning the long road of recovery."