Nine local counties to begin reopening May 8th

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Much of central Pennsylvania is set to enter the yellow phase of the reopening. But the upgrade comes with strict rules and staying there isn’t guaranteed.

After almost two months in lockdown, it’s a little bit of both excitement and worry in Lycoming County. Elected officials Eyewitness News spoke to have praised the social distancing efforts and resiliency of residents and all across Lycoming County. With Friday’s announcement, the key will be staying the course.

“We’ve finally made it to the moment of starting to reopen our commonwealth and it has been a tough time for everyone,” Governor Wolf said.

Nearly two months of stay at home orders and businesses being shut down, Lycoming County and much of central Pennsylvania are now getting the green light to enter the yellow phase of the governor’s plan.

“But they must continue to abide by the underlying message of yellow: proceed with caution,” Wolf said.

The notion is not lost on Commissioner Scott Metzger.

“People in our area, and really across the county, have taken this seriously. They’ve done what they needed to do to curve that spike,” Metzger said.

High praise from the county on social distancing and getting creative to stay afloat and safe; confidence that as businesses open, they will do it wisely.

“These businesses, they don’t want anybody getting sick. These are their friends, their family, their neighbors, their relatives, and their customers. All they need is the guidelines,” Metzger said.

County and municipal level officials say those guidelines were worth the effort. The results speak for themselves. Williamsport even creating the city’s COVID-19 advisory board to help plan for the future of business and customer safety.

“Obviously this is going to be very flexible as we start this gradual reopening. The needs of business and industry will change,” Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter said.

Williamsport, Lycoming County and much of central Pennsylvania are on the right track, but the consensus is clear: stay the course.

“We will be out monitoring and just making sure, just reminding people. If you want to stay here and you want to continue to slowly reopen businesses, it’s going to be all of us working together,” Slaughter said.

The governor stresses in order to go from yellow phase to green phase, social distancing and sanitizing practices must continue in central Pennsylvania. The yellow phase is not set in stone. The number to keep an eye on is 50 new positive cases for every 100,000 in population.

As long as the count stays below that number, they’ll stay in the yellow phase.

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