Counties such as Berks, Chester, Montgomery and Delaware were some of the hardest hit in terms of positive COVID-19 cases. The higher rate of cases resulted in these areas having extended stay-at-home orders and remaining in the red phase of the governor’s three-part reopening plan for a longer period.

The red phase is step one of the reopening plan and includes the most restrictions. The last set of Pennsylvania counties remaining in this phase will all be moved to step two, the yellow phase, on June 5.

Residents living in counties moving to yellow this month will now be able to engage in non-essential activities outside their home. For example, small social gatherings are permitted. Some restrictions will remain such as indoor recreation facilities like gyms are staying closed.

The move to the yellow phase does provide people with more opportunities to be active outdoors since parks, boating facilities and other recreational resources have begun easing restrictions as part of the reopening process. Below are some of the most recent national, state and county guidelines for the reopening of services in the region.

CDC Guidelines for Youth and Summer Camps

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided a set of guidelines for organizations planning to have camps this summer.

Camp organizers are encouraged to keep the risk low by having only small groups, maintaining physical distancing, engaging in activities outdoors and not sharing objects. The CDC also recommends all campers are from the same geographic area for the lowest risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The camp guidelines state people should use cloth face coverings.

“Face coverings should be worn by staff and campers (particularly older campers) as feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult,” states the CDC website.

State Guidelines for Summer Recreation, Camps and Pools

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has stated summer enrichment and recreational programs are allowed in the yellow phase if they follow the CDC guidelines. The guidelines below don’t apply to public school operations as the Pennsylvania Department of Education released its own reopening plan.

• Overnight camps and organized team sports are not allowed until the green phase, the final and third step of the governor’s reopening plan.

• Summer programs must develop a written health and safety plan that follows the CDC camp guidelines.

•  Summer programs can conduct activities both indoors and outdoors

•  If possible, summer program participants should remain with the same people each day.

•  All summer program staff should wear cloth face coverings, but children don’t have to wear the coverings, although the CDC recommends to do so when feasible.

• Summer programs can use public playgrounds if the county is in the yellow or green phase

• Outdoor community pools are permitted to operate in the yellow or green phase if they follow CDC guidance for aquatic venues and the governor’s guidance for businesses

Guidance for State Parks and Facilities from DCNR

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources has continued to keep the public informed about which facilities are open during the pandemic.

“All DCNR lands including trails, lakes, rivers, streams, forests, roads, and parking areas are accessible statewide for recreation; however, the availability of facilities such as bathrooms, offices, and campgrounds varies,” states the DCNR website.

The DCNR website includes an interactive map of all the counties in the state which people can use to find out what specific state park and forest facilities are open or closed. A click on Montgomery County reveals restrooms and trails at Evansburg State Park are open but pavilions and group tenting is closed. A click on Chester County reveals that trails, restrooms and boating is open at Marsh Creek State Park, but picnic groves and the swimming pool remain closed. To view the interactive map, visit Below are some general guidelines on what DCNR facilities are open or closed.

• Beginning June 6, all 58 state park beaches will be open for swimming.

• State park pools will remain closed to at least June 12.

• State picnic pavilions, playgrounds, nature play areas, visit center exhibit halls, amphitheaters, and group camping facilities will remain closed indefinitely.

• Events with no more than 25 people and conducted outdoors will be allowed in the yellow phase

• Campsites and cabins should only be used by members living in the same household

County Guidelines for Parks, Trails, and Other Facilities

Berks County: All county parks and trails are open. Restrooms are open and available at Gring’s Mill and the Heritage Center. Portable bathrooms are also available at Antietam Lake Park – Angora Road and Angora Fruit Farm parking areas. The county has canceled all events, programs and camps through the end of 2020. The county isn’t taking facility reservations for the rest of 2020.

Montgomery County: The county website currently states all county parks and historic sites are closed to the public, but trails remain open. The county has created guidelines for physical activity in the yellow phase. The guidelines state that the Montgomery County Office of Public Health is recommending gatherings of any size don’t take place until after the 4th of July.

Chester County: The county website currently states playgrounds, pavilions, park offices, structures, and other amenities are closed. The county has canceled pavilion rentals, park permits, volunteer programs and ranger programs for June.

Local borough and township parks and facilities might also have their own regulations that may differ from county guidelines. Visitors should check with town recreation departments for guidance on local facilities. For more information about the governor’s reopening plan, visit

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