HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — After seeing some of the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state, Luzerne County is now in the ‘yellow’ phase of the reopening plan. People in Hazleton, which has been the epicenter of the outbreak, are now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I’m really excited about it, excited for people to start getting out again trying to rise to some kind of normalcy getting back to a normal life,” Drums resident Wendy Paisley told Eyewitness News
Wendy and Jim Paisley say they hope the COVID-19 crisis is fading away.
“I think it’s a good thing. It’s good that we are getting close to what we know life to be like,” Jim Paisley said.
Don McKittrick agrees, saying that yellow is now his favorite color.
“I’m very glad that we are moving to it actually. We are in it now. Pretty soon the green. We are doing our part in the county very well I think,” McKittrick said.
Jacob Ripa had to close the doors of his jewelry store in downtown Hazleton but starting Friday those doors were opened with a few safety precautions in place.
“We do have it posted on the door for masks must be worn and social distancing must be required. Also we have Purcell sanitizer and if someone comes in to try a piece of jewelry we have them sanitize their hands,” Ripa of Ripa’s Jewelers said.
Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat says while he’s optimistic the Hazleton area is moving in the right direction regarding COVID-19 he’s also reminding people to stay cautious.
“Just beware the disease is out there. It’s like any disease. It dies but doesn’t go away totally. Use precautions,” Cusat explained.
Similar advice is being given to people all across the commonwealth. If those COVID-19 precautions are left by the wayside, officials are concerned the novel coronavirus could make a big comeback and a surge in the number of cases.
COVID-19 numbers have been steadily declining in Luzerne County and Hazleton. Two testing sites, one in Hazleton run by the Lehigh Valley Hospital Network and another in Wilkes-Barre Township – run by the state closed this week.