×

‘Lots of changes’

Retail stores in county open in ‘Yellow Phase’

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Warren Antiques and Giftware opened Friday morning for the first time since mid-March as coronavirus restrictions were eased in 24 Pennsylvania counties.

Yellow isn’t green, but it’s a big step up from red.

On Friday, Warren County entered the ‘yellow phase’ of Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus re-opening plan.

In that phase, ‘aggressive mitigation’ replaces lockdowns.

Businesses including retail may have in-person interactions but must follow the required safety orders.

That means many doors that had been closed for more than a month and a half, opened again on Friday.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Warren Antiques and Giftware opened Friday morning for the first time since mid-March as coronavirus restrictions were eased in 24 Pennsylvania counties.

Warren Antiques and Giftware was open for the first time since mid-March. “We’re open,” Manager Joan Ramsey said. “We’re ready for business.”

Business was brisk until the weather turned.

“We opened at 10 a.m.,” Ramsey said. “We were doing really well until the snow came.”

She was excited to get back to work. “I couldn’t sleep last night,” she said. The business opened at 10 a.m., but she was on site at 7.

Like Warren Antiques, Nice Ash Cigars opened its doors Friday for the first time in more than a month.

“We have opened up,” Manager Leslie Sherrick said.

Walk-in business was slower than typical, but not bad. Much of the business’s business is handled online.

“It went pretty well,” Sherrick said. “Things will start picking up as the weather gets better. We have a really large online presence.”

Not every store was in a rush to re-open on Friday.

The timing wasn’t right for Virg-Ann Flower Shop.

“Mother’s Day week… we are swamped,” President Annamarie Dicembre-Miller said Friday. “Online sales are strong and we are offering curbside pick-up. So, we have not opened our retail store to foot traffic.”

The stores have taken the steps, or are in the process of taking those steps, to comply with the COVID-19 “aggressive mitigation” rules that are part of the yellow phase.

“To come into the store, you have to wear a mask,” Sherrick said. “To enter the humidor, you have to put on a pair of gloves – which we have.”

“We are not opening the smoking lounge,” she said. That space could be used to provide social distance if multiple customers enter at once.

“You can’t come in the store unless you have a mask on,” Ramsey said.

She is supplied with “sanitizer, wipes, and Clorox” and making frequent use of them.

There is a screen between customer and employee. “Mike from Warren Glass was here,” she said. “We were fitted last week.”

Virg-Ann will be ready when the time comes. “Lots of changes,” Dicembre-Miller said. “We are wearing masks, staying our six feet away, and plexiglass has been installed at the register. We have other items to complete such as moving displays next week to accommodate six feet distancing for shoppers and signage. Customers will have to have masks per CDC regulations.”

Warren County was among the first 24 Pennsylvania counties moved out of the red phase on Friday. A second group of 13 counties will join the yellow wave on Friday, May 15.

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
   

COMMENTS

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today