Pennsylvania Reopening Plan Yellow and Red Phases: What's Open and What's Closed Now
Coronavirus lockdown has touched every aspect of our lives, and after months of living with stay-at-home orders, Pennsylvanians are giddy at the prospect of getting outside again. So while we've had to get creative with homeschooling hacks, virtual birthdays, graduation celebrations, and even at-home haircuts, we can look forward to visiting our favorite parks, restaurants, shops, and museums in the (hopefully near) future as Governor Tom Wolf begins to implement the Pennsylvania reopening plan.
Wolf's plan to reopen Pennsylvania has three phases, and parts of the state, particularly in the west, are already moving into the yellow second phase. With changes regularly occurring as the recorded cases of coronavirus drop, it can be hard to figure out what's open and what's still closed. Read on to find out what Philly-area amenities and attractions are beginning to reopen, including schools and businesses, as well as trails, beaches, farms, and more. With proper adherence to social-distancing protocols, including limiting gatherings and wearing face masks, outside-the-home fun is starting to come back to Pennsylvania!
What's open in and around Philly right now?
While playgrounds and athletic facilities remain closed in Philly, parks, trails, athletic fields, golf courses, and driving ranges are open. Folks who head outdoors must maintain a safe social distance, especially on the trails. To help facilitate this, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive remains closed to vehicular traffic for the foreseeable future.
Parks and trails throughout Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, and Bucks Counties are also open, while facilities and playgrounds remain closed. As Montgomery County has seen the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the suburban counties, all parks and grounds there remain closed.
All sections of the Schuykill River Trail has remained open throughout the health crisis; however, do note that any amenties or facilities are closed/locked.
SEPTA has returned to its regular schedule for almost all routes. There are some restrictions at the Broad Street, Market, Frankford, and Trolley Line Stations for now. Note: While front-door boarding has resumed, departing passengers should use the center doors.
Enjoy plenty of wide-open space at Avalon Beach along the Jersey Shore. Photo by Joe0735/Wikimedia
Philly families who make a tradition out of visiting the Jersey Shore starting Memorial Day weekend will be pleased to hear that as of Saturday, May 16, all Jersey Shore beaches were given the green light to reopen as a "soft launch" to make sure all runs smoothly before the Jersey Shore's busy season. Unfortunately, many favorite boardwalk businesses remain closed, except for restaurants offering takeout, and keeping six feet apart from non-household members on the boardwalk is exceedingly difficult. Amusement park rides are still currently at a standstill.
Boat and watercraft rentals in New Jersey have also been allowed to reopen.
While state parks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are open for hiking, fishing, watercraft usage, biking, or horseback riding, many park programs, including swimming and camping, are still a no-no. That said, if you'd like to get out of the house and into the great outdoors, there are options. Several campgrounds and resorts are open during quarantine; however, be sure and check with the individual campgrounds, which are typically limiting how many sites can be rented to help maintain social-distancing standards.
Linvala Orchards is partially open, but the pick-your-own season will have to wait. Photo courtesy of Linvilla Orchards
What businesses are open for delivery and curbside pickup?
Only businesses deemed "essential" or "life-saving" are allowed to remain open to in-person patronage. These include businesses such as grocery stores, specialty food shops, pharmacies, pet supply stores, health care facilities, and dry-cleaning services. Even as some western Pennsylvania counties move to the yellow phase of reopening, and when the Philly area gets to that phase as well, certain businesses remain closed, including gyms, spas, and hair and nail salons.
And while restaurants are among those businesses which are to remain closed to dine-in guests, a great many are offering pickup and delivery options. There are also businesses, including local farmers markets and grocery stores, gift shops, clothing stores, coffee shops, and book and toy stores offering curbside pickup.
What's Still Closed in Philly?
Local farms, including Delaware County's Linvilla Orchards and Highland Orchards, in Chester County, have yet to reopen for this year's pick-your-own season but are currently open for garden center and farm market ordering and curbside pick up.
And for those looking to enjoy flora and fauna in the Philly area, note that Longwood Gardens, Winterthur Gardens in Delaware, Norristown's Elmwood Park Zoo, and the Philadelphia Zoo are all temporarily closed to the public.
One positive: In order to give pedestrians and bicyclists enough room to maintain safe social distancing, Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive is currently closed to vehicular traffic. This means you can spread out and enjoy a beautiful walk along the Schuykill!
When will schools open in Philly?
Philadelphia and its surrounding counties are making plans to reopen school campuses in the fall; however, once opened, life will most likely look different. Students and staff may be required to wear masks, and there will be additional measures schools will likely have to take, including hand-washing stations and physical separators between desks. These precautions may help limit both the annual seasonal flu outbreaks and COVID-19 infections if it returns in the fall.
In the meantime, Philly families will be hunkering down and finishing out the 2019-2020 school year at home.
Find more ways to keep kids happy and busy in challenging times on our new site for at-home classes, concerts, and other programs: Poppins@Home!