Lehigh Valley to begin reopening on Friday, even as state falls short on plans to implement widespread testing

Written by on June 1, 2020

Lehigh Valley to begin reopening on Friday, even as state falls short on plans to implement widespread testing

By Tyler Pratt

June 1, 2020

Graphic from Gov. Wolf’s Office. This is the updated version from May 30.

The Lehigh Valley will enter the “yellow” phase of reopening this Friday, June 5. Residents will see strict stay-at-home orders lifted and many businesses — including childcare providers and retail operations — will be free to open back up. 

Restaurants will also be able to offer outdoor dining, with social distancing measures in place. Officials in Easton, Bethlehem and Allentown are each working on plans to possibly close down some streets or create space to facilitate those options.

But even as the state begins to see a return to normal life, Governor Tom Wolf says Pennsylvania is not yet prepared to offer mass testing for COVID-19. That was initially a key part of the state’s reopening plan.

“In terms of surveillance testing we are a long way from being there. Where anybody can get a test that can be turned around quickly. We are working on that — a plan to do short term tests and also what is the aspirational plan.”

Short of widespread surveillance testing, Wolf has touted getting more tests to hospitals. And the state health department has ramped up testing in nursing homes and long term care facilities — which have been hit hardest in the state. 

If outbreaks occur in areas that go yellow or even green, the governor says he is prepared to put stay-at-home mandates back into place.

Graphic from Gov. Wolf’s Office. This is the updated version from May 30.

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