Dauphin County to move to ‘Yellow Phase’ of state’s reopening plan on May 29

Dauphin County will move into the Yellow Phase of Governor Wolf’s reopening plan on Friday, May 29, 2020. The state’s announcement today comes after the county commissioners repeatedly called on the Governor to allow businesses and communities to begin safely reopening.

“We’ve heard from hundreds of residents and business owners that the time to reopen is now,” said Board Chairman Jeff Haste. “Our focus remains supporting local businesses and building our economy back up, while directing resources to where they are needed most.”

Haste emphasized that Dauphin County is a “business sanctuary county,” meaning that businesses choosing to reopen and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) guidelines will not be prosecuted by District Attorney Fran Chardo. Sheriff Nick Chimienti also said that his office will not enforce the Governor’s order to keep “non-essential businesses” closed, because they understand that many small business owners are trying to make a living, feed their families and pay their employees.

According to the Governor’s plan, the Yellow Phase guidelines are as follows:

Work and Congregate Setting Restrictions

  • • Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
  • • Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety Orders
  • • Child Care Open Complying with Guidance
  • • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
  • • Schools Remain Closed for In-Person Instruction

Social Restrictions

  • • Stay at Home Order Lifted for Aggressive Mitigation
  • • Large Gatherings of More than 25 Prohibited
  • • 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 Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only

All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning and monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary.

“The data for weeks was painstakingly clear: focus resources on our most vulnerable residents and nursing homes while easing restrictions elsewhere,” said Commissioner Mike Pries. “This is a positive step toward rebuilding our economy and getting people back to work.”

Last week, the commissioners announced that they were forming a task force to develop a community-driven, broad-based plan to safely reopen and rebuild the economy. To learn more about the Reopen and Restore Dauphin County Task Force, go to www.DauphinCounty.org/ReopenAndRestore.

“I’ve spoken with Gov. Wolf and I’m grateful that he’s decided to begin consulting with county leaders, who are most familiar with their communities, to develop a plan that helps us prioritize both public health and safety as well as economic stability,” said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “We need to get people back to work using a safe, measured approach and provide a level of certainty for residents and businesses. Our goal is not to get to yellow but to get to green and stay there.”

Although Dauphin County government offices continue to operate and serve the public, offices remain closed to the public. County officials are preparing to reopen to the public in the near future. Additional safeguards will be in place to protect employees and the public.

Dauphin County Prison will continue to operate under its pandemic protocol and only allow video visitation until further notice.