Pennsylvania businesses react after Gov. Wolf's reopening phases announced; 1,369 more cases

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Local business owners are reacting to the phased plan to reopen Pennsylvania, as the state's Department of Health revised its case count.

While some businesses have found ways to operate in a reduced capacity, others have remained shuttered.

Restaurants' dining-in option would not be slated to open until the final phase.

Owner Erica Praga of Terrace Street Bakery and Cafe in Manayunk told Action News she understands why reopening must be done with caution.

"I'd hate for any of our regulars to get sick. We really get to know them because we are a neighborhood bakery," Praga explained.

The six-month-old bakery has been able to stay open for curbside pick up and delivery, but Praga has been forced to make difficult decisions, like cutting hours, unsure when normal business will resume.

"It's been hard not knowing- like when can I start taking these orders? When can I start preparing? We were going to plan to do a Mother's Day tea where you could come in and have tea and cakes. We can't do that," Praga said.

Areas with more COVID-19 cases like the Delaware and Lehigh valleys are expected to be slower to reopen than other parts of the state with fewer cases.

North-central and northwestern Pennsylvania could open first, as early as May 8, but it depends on the number of cases.

Governor Tom Wolf unveils color-coded plan to reopening Pennsylvania

"By using this measured step-by-step roll-out of reopenings, we can continue to protect the lives of Pennsylvanians especially our most vulnerable," announced Wolf.

All of Pennsylvania right now is in the 'red phase' with only life-sustaining businesses operating.

Regions will shift to the 'yellow phase', based on test results.

But even in the 'yellow phase', many business like gyms, theaters, and casinos will remain closed.

Only carry-out and delivery will be permitted for restaurants, until the 'green phase'- which eases most restrictions.

Marysel Jones is the owner and a trainer at F45 Training Bala Cynwyd, which opened five months ago. Now equipment sits empty.

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"We had only just opened, so we were not in a great place to begin with, so we weren't even close to starting to make a profit yet," Jones explained.

Jones has been able to retain some business in regular virtual classes and will stream a free community workout at 11 a.m. on Saturday, but the timeline to fully reopen is daunting.

"I agree that it's for the health and safety of everybody," Jones allowed.

She added, "However, I don't 100% agree with us being in the last phase. I feel like especially gyms and regular exercise is so important for people not just physically but mentally."

To sign-up for the free community workout being streamed on Saturday by F45 Training Bala Cynwyd, text 'community' to 215-876-2286.

They will send you a Zoom link to join.


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Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine delivers updates on COVID-19 on April 23, 2020.

On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health revised their case count as they determined some of the of the cases being reported needed further investigation.

"These cases were previously counted as probable, but further review has determined that we needed more information before we could attribute them to a death related to COVID-19," Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.

Confirmed cases, however, are among the information that is used in the state's data-driven decisions such as the Governor's reopening plan, she said.

"When a case is confirmed it means there is a positive test result for that patient for both our case counts and death statistics," Levine said.

Levine said some probable COVID-19 cases may remain with that label even after their investigation, especially if someone passes away.

Probable cases, she said, make up 2% of all cases, but do help to see if something is happening in a community that needs investigation.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed 1,369 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 37,053.

Of that total, 36,665 were confirmed cases and 388 were probable cases.

There has been a total of 1,421 COVID-19 related deaths. That is a decrease of 201 from the number of cases reported on Wednesday. Levine said the difference reflected probable deaths being removed from the count because they need further investigation.

There are 142,061 patients who have tested negative to date.

Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:
- Nearly 1% are aged 0-4;
- Nearly 1% are aged 5-12;
- 1% are aged 13-18;
- Nearly 6% are aged 19-24;
- Nearly 39% are aged 25-49;
- Nearly 28% are aged 50-64; and
- Nearly 25% are aged 65 or older.

Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date. More data is available here.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 5,337 resident cases of COVID-19, and 617 cases among employees, for a total of 5,954 at 407 distinct facilities in 39 counties. Out of our total deaths, 845 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.

All non-life-sustaining businesses are ordered to be closed and schools are closed statewide through the remainder of the academic year. Currently the entire state is under a stay-at-home order.


On Thursday, officials in Pennsylvania made the call for residents to donate critical medical supplies.

Officials said the supplies will distributed to hospitals, medical facilities and emergency management services across Pennsylvania.


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