State Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said drive-in theaters in so-called yellow counties could be used for graduation ceremonies or religious gatherings.

“But,” she said, “it’s critical to make sure that the social distancing we’re discussing is continued to be practiced to prevent community spread of COVID-19.”

Beth-Center High School and Brownsville Area High School both expressed a desire to use the Brownsville Drive-In on Route 40 to hold graduation ceremonies for their senior classes.

While the theater remains closed because Fayette County is still under a stay-at-home order, if that order is lifted, Levine said the theater, like other drive-ins in yellow or green counties, could open — both to host socially distant gatherings and to show movies.

The first two dozen counties allowed to partially reopen are all in the northwest and north central part of the state.

Those counties will move from the red designation, where physical locations of non-essential businesses are closed and residents are under stay-at-home orders, to a yellow designation on Friday.

That allows many non-essential businesses to reopen, and relaxes other mitigation efforts.

Levine said state officials will continue reviewing data, studying testing capabilities and the ability to conduct contact tracing in red-zoned counties.

Gov. Tom Wolf will make the ultimate decision when a county transitions, she said.

In response to a question about how often new counties will move into the yellow phase, Levine said there is no set timeframe.

“We’ll do it whenever the data and all the other measures I just discussed suggest those counties should,” she said.

The state Department of Health reported 825 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, which brought the state total to 50,092.

For the past two Mondays, new case numbers have been lower than the rest of the week. Levine has attributed the lower Monday numbers to weekend reporting delays.

Case numbers in Fayette and Greene counties remained the same at 83 and 27 respectively.

Other area counties saw a rise in cases, Washington from 119 to 120; Westmoreland from 401 to 403 and Allegheny from 1,345 to 1,365.

A total of 2,458 Pennsylvanians have died from COVID-19. Among those are four residents in Fayette County, one in Greene County and two in Washington County.

For additional information on the coronavirus, including county-level data, visit health.pa.gov.

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