PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Tom Wolf has signed the order that will move all counties in southeastern Pennsylvania to his least-restrictive “green phase.” Officials from suburban counties are weighing in on the best way for more businesses to reopen while keeping everyone as safe as possible.
Bucks County Health Director Dr. David Damsker says the number of new cases in the county is drastically lower than at the peak.
“We do feel like we sort of reached a threshold because there is still a virus in the community. And our main focus is to keep it from rising above those numbers and keeping pure community spread as low as possible,” he said.
Damsker believes businesses will be safe, but he says rules still need to be followed.
For example, bars can’t serve anyone who’s standing. He notes people may want to do the right thing but make bad decisions when they drink, so the business needs to enforce the rules, as one person at a bar could potentially infect many people.
Another key to keeping new cases low is staying home if you’re sick.
“And paying attention to how you feel, that’s a big part of lowering the spread no matter where you go,” he said.
Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh echoes that, adding anyone who needs to isolate because they were exposed also needs to stay home.
“That is how we will keep this virus under control,” she said.
She acknowledges some people may not have the means to do that, so she says the county has programs to help, including to get food or medicine or free hotel rooms for people who can’t safely quarantine or isolate at home.
Damsker notes a lot of the states starting to see the big rise in new cases didn’t get the initial shock that the New York City area and the Philadelphia area got, so it’s not surprising people aren’t following guidelines.
He says if people visit other parts of the country where cases are climbing, they should take extra precautions, as he says eight of the 27 new cases announced Wednesday were contracted by people who traveled to Arizona, Texas, or New Jersey.
Philadelphia is taking a more cautious approach and waiting until next week to relax many restrictions.