Lycoming County readies switch to “yellow phase”


WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) In less than 24 hours, 24 counties will be entering Governor Wolf’s “yellow phase” of opening back up, following the closure due to COVID-19.

For many in the community it has been a long couple of months of quarantine, including Lycoming County.

We spoke with Bernie Katz, the co-owner of Le Chocolat in Williamsport, who said, “we’re hoping that the people, especially those who are under age 60 come out a little more because they need to get out I think and socialize a little bit even with nice distancing you can still get out and say hey!”

This is all part of Governor Wolf’s three phase re-opening plan.

Once counties movie into the yellow phase some retail stores will open back up with social distancing guidelines. Childcare facilities will also be able to open.

Kym Eisenhower, the director of Blessed Beginnings Childcare and Preschool told us, “we’re excited to be able to have our kids back into our center and be able to pick up those routines again and serve all of the families.”

Blessed Beginnings Childcare and Preschool previously opened its doors for essential worker’s children only.

But now, with the restrictions lifted, they were caring for about 30 youngsters

Eisenhower said, ” (if) most of the families chose to come on Monday, we could expect about 80.”

The co-owner of Le Chocolat says it’s about time the county begins to reopen.

Katz says, “it’s like really if you look on the streets of the city there’s nobody walking around. Once in a while we’ll get a phone call for a shipment or an order to be shipped curbside pick up but for people just wandering around that’s not happening.”

Moving to yellow phase also allows for gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed.

Currently, the statewide “red” designation bans all gatherings or outside trips that are not related to health, safety or employment at an essential job.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito of Lycoming County tells us, “I think the yellow phase is a warning light just as it is when you approach a traffic light slow down but proceed cautiously.”

Mirabito also says locals should tread lightly… And not just head first back into society.

He says, “I think it’s about being prudent and exercising self-discipline. !n other words as constituents we shouldn’t go to crowded places, we shouldn’t crowd places if you go and see a place crowded try to avoid it if you can. I think we need to always be looking for the fact the caution that we take now will help us in September, whereas, if we proceed too quickly now we will have a bigger problem if the virus comes back in a stronger way.”

Even in the yellow phase, many other restrictions will remain in place.

Gyms, theaters and entertainment venues will remain closed.

And many are anxiously awaiting when Lycoming County could enter the “green phase.”

Katz says, “I think it will be, oh, probably another month or so. My green phase is I’m looking forward to Christmas.”

Under the yellow phase restaurants and bars will still be limited to carryout or delivery.

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