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​May 29, 2020

Governor Announces County Reopening Designation Changes

Governor Wolf announced changes today to the commonwealth's red, yellow, or green designations for many Pennsylvania counties. To see what your county's designation is, see the Department of Health's Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.

Framework for Reopening Libraries – To Be Revised

In light of revised guidance from the Governor's office for the green phase and summer programs as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance for youth and summer camps, the Office of Commonwealth Libraries is currently making revisions to its Framework for Reopening Libraries.

While this document is being revised, libraries may begin preparing for its release by:

  • Continuing to work cooperatively within their county and/or district to ensure safe and consistent policies, practices and reopening dates.
  • Being familiar with and implementing all state and federal guidelines that apply to community organizations and businesses, including:
  1. *Revised guidance regarding the Green Phase of reopening
  2. *Summer Recreation, Camps, and Pools Frequently Asked Questions
  3. *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Considerations for Youth and Summer Camps
  4. *CDC. COVID-19 Employer information for Office Buildings
  5. Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Framework for Reopening Public Libraries (PDF) – (Note: Revised document to be issued.)
  6. Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate during the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public (PDF)
  7. Order of the Secretary of Health providing for business safety measures (to keep employees and customers safe)
  8. Order of the Secretary of Health providing for building safety measures
  9. CDC. Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
  10. CDC. Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
  11. CDC. Interim Guidance for Community and Faith-Based Organizations
  12. *New to this list

In addition, libraries will find it helpful to review guidance in the Caring for Our Children national standards database on the selection of appropriate sanitizers or disinfectants for child care settings provided by the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education.

Guidance for Green Phase Counties

Libraries located in Green Phase counties must wait to fully reopen until after the Office of Commonwealth Libraries issues its revised Framework for Reopening Libraries. After the document is revised and issued, libraries can then review it to be sure that they are prepared to adhere to all federal and state guidelines. Once the library board and director can provide those assurances, libraries located in commonwealth-designated Green Phase counties may open for public service on a date that is determined by the local library board.

Reminder of Guidance for Red Phase Libraries

For those libraries located in counties designated red by the commonwealth that they are to remain closed remain closed until the date on which their county is designated to move to yellow. Any library that reopens before being designated as yellow by the commonwealth risks placing their operations and community at risk.

As Governor Wolf stated on May 11, 2020, organizations that reopen for business that are located in red-designated counties are "at risk of losing your certificate of occupancy…and by opening before the evidence suggests you should, you are taking undue risks with the safety of your customers." Further, he continued, organizations that "ignore the law and the welfare of their customers will probably find themselves uninsured. Because, insurance does not cover things that happen to businesses breaking the law."

Pennsylvania Humanities Council CARES Emergency Relief Grants

The Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) has finalized PHC CARES, an emergency relief grant opportunity available to humanities organizations (including libraries) that are facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. The application portal will open June 1, 2020. Funding is provided by the CARES Act and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). For more information, visit the PHC website.

Information and Questions

Information and future guidance will be announced as soon as it is available via our statewide email distribution lists and on our Guidance and Resources for Public Libraries website. This page has links to:

Questions about COVID-19 issues should be directed to the Pennsylvania Department of Education's emergency response account at:

Glenn R. Miller, Deputy Secretary & Commissioner for Libraries