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By Trinh V. Hoang and Leonard Bonarek

cyclist wearing mask rides towards the camera on a leafy boulevard

After being in the Red Phase for over three months, the counties that make up southeast Pennsylvania entered the Yellow Phase on June 5, 2020.

The Yellow Phase means looser work and physical restrictions within Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Wolf stated that in Yellow Phase, the Stay at Home Order is lifted from aggressive measures, in person operation and work is now allowed, and gatherings of more than 25 individuals are not permitted. With restrictions being lifted and people being able to socialize more, it is important to continue safety precautions and hygiene because COVID-19 is still spreading.

Should I still wear a mask in Yellow Phase?

Yes. Wear a mask and protect others. Even wearing around your neck and pulling it up as you pass is better than nothing. Experts have noted, time and again, that wearing a mask can help stop the spread of COVID, and it’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s respectful to everyone around you.

What other way can I keep myself safe?

Wear a helmet, don’t overexert: let’s save health workers from having to deal with head injuries and heat stroke on top of the heroic work they’re doing to battle this disease.

If I’ve passed someone outside who displayed symptoms, what should I do?

Keep as much distance as you can, but do not freak out if you get close passed: outdoor risk is minimal in general. Long exposures are usually needed for the disease to establish itself. That said, if you’re wearing a mask, the potential of catching the virus are much less — even if we don’t know how much less.

Are bike group rides allowed during Yellow Phase?

Yes. Though group rides should be limited to 25 people. Entering into the Yellow Phase is exciting because many of us are able to regain some normalcy, but we are not out of the clear from COVID-19. For more specific recommendations about group rides, click here.

There are still elders and people who are immunocompromised and they are the ones who have to take much more precaution than the rest of the population. Scientists are trying to understand the nature of the virus, but there is still much they don’t know about the disease. In the past with other pandemics, there were second waves of infections that hit harder than the first wave.

Entering into the Yellow Phase does not mean we will transition cleanly into the Green Phase. By protecting yourself and others, being aware that COVID-19 is still spreading, and practicing proper hygiene, we can continue to “flatten the curve,” buying time for health care workers to better fight this disease.

We haven’t seen the last of COVID-19. Even today, cases are surging in states across the country, including Arizona, Texas and California. We all have a responsibility and an opportunity to make sure that doesn’t happen here, and that our sacrifices over the last three months were not in vain. That’s why, even though the risk is extremely low, we recommend everyone on a bicycle — whether in a group ride, or riding on their own — wear a mask.

Leonard Bonarek

Author

In 2016, Leonard entered his third career: city planning. Previous to joining Bicycle Coalition, he had 7 years’ experience working in social services, and 10 years’ hard labor in the maritime industry, in addition to several years of intern and volunteer experience with our organization and Neighborhood Bike Works.

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