Pennsylvania will gradually reopen its economy using a “regional, sector-based approach” and a modeling tool that will help public officials decide when it’s safe, according to a plan outlined Friday by Gov. Tom Wolf.
The plan offered few details. It does not include a timetable or spell out the metrics that Wolf and his administration will use to decide that Pennsylvania can begin emerging from the coronavirus pandemic after weeks of social distancing.
Wolf called the plan a “framework” and said he would lay out more concrete steps next week.
“There is no magic wand to wave to get us back to where we want to be,” said Wolf, unveiling his “Relief, Reopening, Recovery” plan at a video news conference Friday afternoon.
“Unfortunately, we cannot flip a switch and reopen the commonwealth. There’s not going to be one big day,” Wolf said. “We need to be smart and make data-driven decisions.”
Under Wolf’s plan, employers and other organizations that are permitted to reopen will be required to follow guidance from the state Department of Health and other state agencies, and will have to close again if there’s a “significant” COVID-19 outbreak.
A “strong testing regime” must be in place in areas that are permitted to reopen, along with a monitoring and surveillance program. And limitations on mass gatherings will remain in place for the duration of the reopening process, according to plan documents.
The state needs to be careful and deliberate about reopening the economy, with the flexibility to respond to new outbreaks, Wolf said. Doing otherwise, he contended, would prolong the crisis.
The AP’s Marc Levy, Michael Rubinkam, and Mark Scolforo contributed to this story.