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Centre County to go ‘green’ June 5… maybe sooner

BELLEFONTE –Due to a quick decision by the Centre County commissioners to not move to the green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan on Friday, May 29, the county has now been placed on the list of counties to go green on Friday, June 5.

Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins said a member of the governor’s staff called the commissioners last Friday, prior to the governor’s announcement of the list of counties he was moving to the green phase on May 29, and asked them what they thought.

“Based on the information we had at the time, we were concerned about our poll workers and an increased possibility of the election becoming a super spreader event if the county moved to the green phase before the primary election,” Higgins said.

“So, we were removed from the May 29 green list,” Higgins said.

Higgins said he has spoken to and received e-mails from hundreds of Centre County residents regarding the move from yellow to green and after careful reconsideration, he supports the move.

Commissioner Michael Pipe said he later spoke with PA Department of Health (DOH).

“The staff at the DOH were extremely helpful in addressing my concerns related to community spread of COVID-19 by moving to the “green phase” prior to the primary election. We discussed the low amount of cases of COVID-19, increased utilization of vote-by-mail, and the measures the Centre County Elections Board has taken, including but not limited to, providing PPE to poll workers, moving voting locations out of long term care facilities, and the reduction of “high contact surfaces” at the polling locations,” Pipe said.

On Sunday night, the governor tweeted the commissioners that Centre County is now on the list to go green on Friday, June 5.

However, Pipe and Higgins said they will open discussion at Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting and have an action item on the agenda to request the governor to move Centre County to the “green phase” on May 29 as originally scheduled. The meeting will live streamed at 10 a.m.

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