Yellow Phase: Gov. Wolf allows for school sports, more outdoor activities to resume

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Pennsylvania school sports can resume, with restrictions, for counties in the yellow phase of the state's reopening plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Tom Wolf released the updated guidance Wednesday. Southeastern Pennsylvania moved to the yellow phase on June 5.

Public and private K-12 schools under the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) and the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PISAA) in the yellow and green phase can resume voluntary sports-related workouts. Schools must first develop an athletic health and safety plan in alignment with the Department of Education's Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Schools guidance, that is approved by the local board of directors and posted on the school's website.

However, it is up to a school's discretion as to whether it does resume sports-related activities including conditioning, practices, and games.

"Pennsylvania has some of the best athletes and teams in the country and they can now begin to safely return to organized sports," said Gov. Wolf. This guidance balances keeping student athletes safe from COVID-19 while allowing them to participate in an important part of their lives."

Any sports-related activities in the yellow phased counties are limited to 25 people.

During the yellow and green phases of reopening, sports-related activities at the Pre-K to 12th grade level are limited to student athletes, coaches, officials, and staff only. The addition of visitors and spectators will be contingent upon future health conditions within the state and local communities.

Officials say the administration may release further guidance which could impact fall, winter, or spring seasons.

Recreational and amateur sports teams in the green phase that are not affiliated with a K-12 school can hold in-person activities, including games and practices. Examples include basketball, hockey, field hockey, football, soccer, swimming, baseball, softball, lacrosse, gymnastics and kickball.

Professional sports and collegiate sports are also allowed to return in the yellow phase.

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Outdoor Activities

In addition, miniature golf, tennis, mountain biking and other outdoor activities are now allowed in the yellow phase. Governor Wolf said Pennsylvanians should enjoy them in a safe way with social distancing.

RELATED: Southeastern Pennsylvania moves to yellow phase, here's what you should know

"As summer quickly approaches and all 67 counties are in either yellow or green phases of reopening, it was important to provide businesses with the guidance necessary to safely reopen or plan for reopening as they reach the green phase," Gov. Wolf said in statement.

The new guidance also allows outdoor activities like motorsports venues, go carts, rock climbing, disc golf, paintball, horse riding, archery or shooting, and other similar facilities that conduct operations outdoors to resume operation in yellow phase counties.

However, businesses cannot resume operating indoor spaces for public or visitor use other than restrooms and ticketing and entry locations.

The governor's office strongly encourages businesses to provide online ticketing and timed or staged entry are in order to manage occupancy rates and physical distancing.

Pennsylvania's own recreational facilities are reopening to the public, with facilities in state parks and forests such as cabins, cottages, lodges, and yurts opening statewide on Friday, June 12, and most state park swimming pools in yellow phase and green phase counties reopening as of Saturday, June 13. As of Saturday, June 6, all 58 state park beaches are open to swimming.

Officials said capacity at beaches and pools will be limited to 50 percent of the normal facility capacity and mitigation measures, including restricting visitor parking, controlling facility access, ensuring social distancing and the wearing of face masks when not in the water, must remain in place. All Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance remains in effect.

Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities and personal care services and entertainment, remain closed in the yellow phase. Indoor recreation includes bowling, arcades, racquetball and other indoor sports or training, indoor go-kart and other racing, laser tag, pool halls, trampoline facilities, indoor mini golf, and other similar facilities.

Health and wellness facilities include, but are not limited to gyms, saunas, tattoo and piercing shops, tanning, spas, barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, entities that provide massage therapy, and other similar facilities.

Entertainment includes, but is not limited to, casinos, theaters, concerts, museums, historical sites, amusement parks, waterparks, and zoos.

Indoor malls must remain closed until the county in which the mall is located is designated as being in the green phase. Only tenants with external entrances may open to customers (if they follow the business guidance) as well as pharmacy or health care tenants with either interior or external entrances. All mall tenants may offer curbside pickup, fulfilled outside of the mall interior, during the yellow phase.

Restaurants in the yellow phase are permitted to provide take-out and delivery, as well as outdoor seating. In Philadelphia, outdoor dining is expected to be allowed by city officials on Friday, June 12.

RELATED: Some Philadelphia businesses offer outdoor dining despite warnings from officials

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Cases

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed 410 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 76,846. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19.

There are 6,062 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 48 new deaths.
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