Luzerne County to go to yellow phase on Friday

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Friday night Luzerne County Council was set to vote on a letter to send the governor, requesting to move into the yellow phase. That meeting was no longer needed to happen after Governor Tom Wolf announced Luzerne County was ready to take the next step to reopen.

Luzerne County officials say they are thrilled the county will begin to reopen in just one week, with aggressive mitigation.

“We’re really happy that we are moving to the yellow phase. I think it’s a great first step in the county,” Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri told Eyewitness News.

Luzerne County is one of eight counties Governor Wolf says will move to the ‘yellow phase’ next Friday, May 29.

The counties moving to ‘yellow’ on May 29th include: Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill.

“As of this morning 49 counties have moved into Pennsylvania’s yellow phase, and today I’m announcing that on Friday May 29, 2020, next Friday,  that number will increase to 57 and we anticipate the remainder of the state to be moved into the Yellow Phase by June 5th,” Governor Tom Wolf said on Friday.

Luzerne County Council Chairman Tim McGinley also expressed his thoughts after the announcement.

“I think our county’s done a great job. Our citizens have made a lot of sacrifices, our first responders have done an excellent job. Our medical community has done a lot of great things and we should be proud of them. I’m really very, very happy with the results that came out tonight and I think it’s through all the hard work of all the people of Luzerne County who have done a great job.” McGinley said.

Moving into the ‘yellow’ phase means gatherings of 25 people or less are allowed.

“Some of the retail stores will now be open. There will be restrictions and limitations but they’ll be able to be open which I think is a big thing,” McGinley said.

Any business that opens must follow strict guidelines, including face coverings for entry and the ability to practice social distancing.

“If you’re a small business in Luzerne County we’re asking you to go to www.luzernecountyready.org. This is a site that lists every single thing that a business should be doing right now to make sure you’re ready for the ‘yellow phase’ and then for the ‘green phase’,” Pedri explains.

On that website you can also purchase hand sanitizer and PPE.

But business that can be conducted via telework should continue to do so. Pedri says the continued safety measures are important to ensure the county remains on track for a full reopening.

“Most importantly we have to do this safely, we’re not done yet but we have to get there,” Pedri.

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