What the End of Pennsylvania’s Stay At Home Order Means

Friends Michele Boone, left, and Michele Blasius said they were enjoying “the freedom of shopping” on Friday, May 8, 2020, at a gift ship in downtown Lewisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Mark Scolforo)

By Keya Vakil

June 4, 2020

All 67 counties are now under Wolf’s yellow or green phase declarations, which see eased restrictions and the partial opening of most businesses.

Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order expires at 11:59 p.m. tonight—more than two months after Gov. Tom Wolf first issued the decree to try and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state. 

Wolf announced Wednesday he would allow the order to expire and allow the final 10 counties under the order, including the Philadelphia region, to begin reopening. As of Friday morning at 12:01 a.m., every county in the state will now be under the state’s “yellow” or “green” phase.

“As phased reopening continues and all 67 counties are either in the yellow or green phase by Friday, we will no longer have a stay-at-home order in effect,” Wolf said in a statement. “I remind Pennsylvanians that yellow means caution and even in the green phase everyone needs to take precautions to keep themselves and their communities healthy.”

Masks, social distancing, and hand-washing must still be practiced, per CDC guidance, but here’s what the end of Wolf’s stay-at-home order means for the nearly 6 million Pennsylvanians entering the yellow phase on Friday.

Work and School Restrictions

  • Telework must continue where possible
  • Businesses with in-person operations must follow the state’s Business and Building Safety Orders
  • Businesses must operate at no more than 50% of the total maximum occupancy
  • Child care services may reopen so long as they comply with guidance
  • Congregate care and prison restrictions remain in place
  • Schools will be allowed to reopen for in-person instruction after July 1, so long as they are in compliance with Department of Education policies and adhere to guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

Social Restrictions

  • Stay-at-home order lifted
  • Gatherings of more than 25 people are banned
  • In-person retail is permitted, though curbside and delivery options are preferred
  • Gyms, spas, hair and nail salons, casinos, theaters, and other indoor recreation, health, wellness, personal care, and entertainment facilities remain closed.
  • Restaurants and bars may reopen outdoor dining and continue carry-out and delivery

Some local jurisdictions have stricter recommendations, however. In Philadelphia, for example, restaurants will have to wait one more week to reopen outdoor dining, while the city also advises against all social gatherings outside the house. 

If 14 days pass and counties in the yellow phase show no signs of significant outbreaks or “overall risk,” they will then transition into Wolf’s green phase. About 3.8 million people live in counties that are already in the green phase, or will be starting Friday. Here’s what that entails:

Work and School Restrictions

  • Continued telework strongly encouraged
  • Businesses with in-person operations must follow the state’s Business and Building Safety Orders
  • Businesses operating at 50% occupancy in the yellow phase may increase to 75% occupancy
  • Child care may open in compliance with guidance
  • Congregate care restrictions remain in place
  • Individual prisons and hospitals determine restrictions
  • Schools must adhere to CDC and state guidance

Social Restrictions

  • Gatherings of more than 250 Prohibited
  • Restaurants and bars may open at 50% occupancy
  • Personal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) may open at 50% occupancy and by appointment only
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities, and Personal Care Services (such as gyms and spas) may open at 50% occupancy with appointments strongly encouraged
  • All entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) may open at 50% occupancy
  • Construction activity may return to 100% capacity with continued adherence to protocols

Even those areas in the green phase, however, are subject to adjusted orders and restrictions, should they see new outbreaks of cases. In total, there have been nearly 74,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania and 5,817 residents have died of the virus, as of Thursday afternoon.


  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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