The Bucks County Commissioners were “praying” that Gov. Tom Wolf would ease some restrictions imposed on residents and businesses since the pandemic forced people indoors and businesses to close more than two months ago.
On Friday, their prayers were answered when the governor announced that Bucks was among 10 additional counties approved to move into the “yellow” phase of the state’s three-level reopening plan.
Although many would have preferred if Bucks had been moved into the yellow stage sooner, the change will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. June 4.
“Our goal is going green,” said Commissioner Chairwoman Diane Ellis-Marseglia in a video announcement following Wolf’s press conference.
“But, the way we do that is by keeping ourselves and others safe. That means 6-foot distancing, that means you need to have a face covering on wherever you go,” she said.
While the yellow phase means retail stores can reopen with safety measures, curbside and delivery is still preferred, according to Wolf’s announcement.
Gatherings of 25 or more – up from 10 – are prohibited, and gyms, spas, entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, and casinos must remain closed until the county moves into the final green stage. Restaurants and bars are still limited to carry-out and delivery.
During an earlier virtual news briefing, the board of commissioners was asked if outdoor dining might be possible. Marseglia said, outdoor service is not permitted. However, she added, it might be possible to allow patrons to take their take-out orders to an outdoor table, if properly distanced.
“I have all the faith, if that’s possible, our boroughs will do that,” said Marseglia.
Nursing home visitation will continue to be prohibited, Dr. David Damsker, the county’s health department director, said.
Outdoor concerts and “generally anything that attracts large crowds is not a good idea,” and is not permitted in the yellow phase, noted Damsker. “We have to look at several weeks of data in yellow to see the trends.”
“We still have to be cautious,” said Commissioner Vice Chairman Bob Harvie. “There’s still a virus that is in our community.”