Philadelphia and the surrounding counties moved into the “Yellow Phase” of Governor Wolf’s Reopening Plan for Pennsylvania earlier this month. It is important to note that this stage of reopening is far from a return to normal. Philadelphia is still classified as having a “High Risk of Community Transmission” of COVID-19. While the Yellow Phase has loosened some of the restrictions that were in place during the stay-at-home order, it is still important that everyone take the necessary precautions to limit the potential transmission of this virus. Older adults and individuals living with chronic health conditions still have the greatest risk of serious illness or death attributable to COVID-19.

The Yellow Phase of the Governor’s reopening plan still comes with several regulations designed to limit exposure and the spread of coronavirus. The plan includes the following guidance while a county is in the Yellow Phase:

  • Telework must continue where feasible
  • Businesses with in-person operations must follow business and building safety orders
  • Child care may open complying with guidance
  • Congregate care and prison restrictions in place
  • Schools may provide in-person instruction only in accordance with Department of Education guidance
  • Stay at home order lifted for aggressive mitigation
  • Large gathering of more than 25 prohibited
  • Masks are required when entering a business
  • In-person retail allowable, curbside and delivery preferable
  • Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities and personal care services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) remain closed
  • Restaurants and bars may open outdoor dining, in addition to carry-out and delivery

When the county is moved to the “Green Phase” many of these guidelines will be relaxed further. However, there will still be restrictions on certain activities. Individuals will still be strongly encouraged to wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash hands frequently.

The City of Philadelphia has developed additional guidance for life in the Yellow Phase in the city. The Kenney administration released its “Safer at Home” guidance earlier this month. The guide includes the city’s strategies for expanding testing, isolating cases, and completing contact tracing. It also advises Philadelphians on the activities that remain a high risk for transmission and outlines the safety precautions necessary to reduce coronavirus spread. The Safer at Home plan does emphasize that people over age 65, individuals living with chronic health conditions, and individuals who live with or provide care for someone over age 65 should continue stay home except for essential trips. Restrictions remain in place for visitation to long-term care facilities.

To learn more about Pennsylvania’s response to COVID-19 and resources available from the state, visit

To learn more about Philadelphia’s response to COVID-19 and resources available from the city, visit

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