DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — More and more of Pennsylvania is "going green."
Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike, and Schuylkill counties are moving from the yellow phase of reopening to green next Friday.
“There is so much pent-up demand in the market of people wanting to go out and hang out with their friends and have cocktails,” said Ron Kamionka, the owner of Sawyers.
Last Saturday, Kamionka says servers at Sawyers poured so many cocktails, they actually ran out of product.
“We had to close early last Saturday — it's a good problem to have, but we're not going to make that mistake twice,” he explained.
Kamionka anticipates there will be even more people filling the streets when Dauphin County goes green next Friday. People will likely travel into the city to enjoy the downtown nightlife. Kamionka is reminding customers green may mean less restrictions on what people can do, but it doesn't mean go full speed ahead.
“Things are still very limiting so we will be allowed to allow people inside of our buildings, but we have to maintain six feet between tables,” he said. “There's no standing, and only four people sitting at the bar that have a familiar relationship with each other so they are still very tight restrictions.”
As for some of the people patronizing downtown, they say they’re pretty excited too.
“Might meet some people down here for a little bit but biggest thing is the haircut,” said Brett Woodburn.
“Probably a lot of haircuts, hair salons, nails,” said Tawyna Green. “It'll be busy everywhere.”
“I’m planning on going to the barbershop and maybe just going out doing a little shopping,” said Joe Beesley.
Many people are excited to return to their ordinary routines after an abnormal two and a half months; some wonder if and when things will return to normal.
“I don’t think we will ever go back to normal,” added Green. “I think just continue to wear your mask, hand sanitizer, and just try to avoid crowds.”
“Our biggest challenge is that most people don't understand they're still restrictions,” added Kamionka. “They hear we're open for business so they want to come out, and they want to have a good time, not fully understanding that we as business owners have an obligation to not only our customers but to the state to maintain those guidelines. Number one we worry about is the health and safety of our employees, but we also worry about our liquor licenses and health licenses because if we did something went outside of those guidelines that could put us in jeopardy.”
The green phase allows gyms, barber shops, hair salons, and theaters to reopen. Gatherings of up to 250 people are also permitted in green counties.
Masks will still be required when entering a business, and buildings will be limited to 50% capacity.