POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As Governor Wolf brought the hammer down on the rogue counties, Pennsylvanians and small businesses got caught in the crossfire.
There are those in Schuylkill County who are bursting at the seams to get out and say the containment of COVID-19 is real. Others warn it’s too soon but all eyes are on the next official word.
“This transition could go forward tomorrow, or backward tomorrow. We just have to roll with the punches,” Colton Conway, manager of Roma Pizza, said.
Schuylkill County has joined the band of counties going rouge and entering the yellow phase of reopening earlier than Governor Wolf has seen fit.
“These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy in the middle of a war that we Pennsylvanians are winning and must win,” Governor Wolf said.
The governor threatening withholding discretionary funds from these counties leaving Pennsylvanians and small businesses in the crossfire with conflicting guidelines. Many are just trying to embrace the situation.
“I’m with it as long as everybody’s safe and continues to do what they need to do,” Bridy Dicello of Pottsville said.
Dicello still gets the word from neighborhoods when delivering mail for the post office. She says many are clamoring for freedom.
“I talk to them a lot, but I think slow and steady wins the race,” Dicello said.
Edward Schaeffer is a local nursing assistant and is confident moving to yellow is the wrong move.
“I think it will be great for small businesses and stuff like that. I understand that people want to get out and start doing things, but the only way to combat this virus is to isolate,” Schaeffer said.
Something small businesses like Roma Pizza in downtown Pottsville can’t do. Conway tells Eyewitness News once the local officials give the thumbs up, they’re ready to move forward in a safe manner.
“We’re going to do what we can for business. If we have that chance to do a partial dine-in and seat every other table, only seat so many at once? We’ll do it. We will if it’s in regulation,” Conway said.
Many in the small business community in Pottsville and the county say it’s a close-knit family and while all doors may not be open, they’ve done their best to reach out and support one another. If the county does go yellow early, they’ll have to do it extremely cautiously and hope county officials have their backs.
Many restaurants in Schuylkill County would still be limited to takeout and delivery. Some other possible openings would include car dealers, barbers shops, and retail.