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Clearfield County Commissioners clear up “yellow phase” misconceptions

Clearfield, PA – The Clearfield County Commissioners want to clear up any misconceptions about the “yellow phase” reopening of businesses and what that means for our area.

According to the press release from the Commissioners:

As we approach our May 8 ‘yellow’ phase for the county, the Commissioners have been hearing a lot of misinformation circulating around. With Monday’s announcement by Governor Wolf of some specifics regarding business practices in this new phase, we want to discuss some of the important points with the community.

The biggest change is simple: under the ‘stay at home’, all business had to close except those specifically allowed to open. In the ‘yellow’ phase, it’s the reverse- provided the safety guidelines are followed, all businesses are allowed to reopen except those explicitly specified to remain closed. The vast majority of business can reopen, at least on a limited basis.

Some of the big exceptions under the ‘yellow’ phase are gyms (and other indoor recreation facilities), indoor movie theaters, in-person dining, groups of 25+…and yes, at least for now, barbers/hair salons. We have been in contact with the Governor’s office about this issue, and they are well aware of the frustration regarding the hair salons. They are trying to find a way to balance safety and the need to get these important shops open. We hope that hair salons will open well before we come out of ‘yellow’.

One of the biggest misconceptions making the rounds is that there’s already a set timeframe for that transition to ‘green’ phase. We have heard folks in our community say it’s going to be 4 weeks, 8 weeks, ten weeks – because they read it somewhere on the internet or heard it ‘from a friend’.

NONE of that is accurate.

Everything we have heard from the state- both on the governor’s website, and from our contacts- indicates that the data will drive this decision. If cases stay low, it may not be long at all until we are ‘in the green’. If we get a major spike, we could be stuck in this phase for some time – or worse, be forced back to ‘red’. No one wants that, but our fate is largely in our own hands, based on how seriously we take this situation.

Finally, we’d like to explain some of those business guidelines. Masks are still required to enter public buildings. Remember- ‘your mask protects me, my mask protects you’. They aren’t perfect, but masks do make a difference…especially in close quarters.

Employers should work to disinfect workplaces beyond what was considered normal before. They should arrange for adequate spacing for employees and customers, and the guidelines state that total building capacity should be 50% of pre-COVID maximums. If you own a storefront business or any business that has in-person employees, we urge you to read the guidance put forth by the state very carefully. That guidance can be found at the website governor.pa.gov.

If you are working and you feel sick – PLEASE stay home. If you have symptoms consistent with COVID (fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell, diarrhea) then call your doctor and arrange to get tested. Penn Highlands tells us that Q-care locations throughout the region are now set up to be the primary test sites, and if you have some or all of the listed symptoms, they WILL provide a test. If you do not have a primary care doctor, call the Penn Highlands call center at 814-375-6644 to arrange a test.

This is a big step, a welcome step for our area- but we are NOT out of the woods yet. We encourage all of you to celebrate these steps toward normalcy. It’s important to shop local and support these businesses that have suffered through this shutdown, but please be careful. Follow the guidelines, continue to social distance.

For the vast majority of you, who have followed the guidelines and sacrificed for the good of your families, friends, and neighbors – thank you. We understand how hard this has been on everyone. We really are all in this together, and only together can we keep moving toward the ‘green’ phase. We know Clearfield County will rise to meet this challenge!