Contributed by Brandi Fitch
Wearing masks, staying at least 6 feet apart, and always making sure that we have sanitizer on hand. As we continue to adjust to the “new normal” from COVID-19, many wonder how life will continue to change from this pandemic. How can we continue to stay safe while enjoying summer and mentally moving on to better days? What does moving to the Green Phase mean for Franklin County? While we don’t know how many more days or months this pandemic will linger, there are several things that we can expect and do to prepare for days ahead.
On June 19th, Franklin County moved to the Green Phase, along with several other counties throughout Pennsylvania. So, what does this mean? The Green Phase is meant to allow the economy to reopen while prioritizing public health and mitigating the spread of disease at the same time.
Businesses that are able to continue telework are strongly encouraged to do so, and those with in-person operations must follow updated Business and Building Safety Requirements, which are outline by the PA Department of Health. These requirements include masks being worn by employees and customers. The businesses that are permitted to reopen must do so at 50% occupancy. All personal care services, including hair salons and barbers, may operate by appointment only. Health and wellness facilities are also encouraged to operate by appointment. Those businesses who have already been operating at 50% occupancy in the Yellow Phase are now able to increase to 75% occupancy.
As social gatherings increase with these warm summer months, it is still strongly encouraged that individuals wear masks. Gatherings may include up to 250 people, but it is still recommended to keep them as small as possible.
Healthy Franklin County has developed a Franklin Forward Task Force, which will focus on turning this crisis into an opportunity to reimagine Franklin County by improving systems, reinvigorating the economy, and restoring our community. More information on Franklin Forward can be found at franklinforward.org
It is important for community members to remain patient as Franklin County works to slowly return to semi-normalcy while putting safeguards in place. Following the guidelines above can help to prevent mass spread and a possible shut down of counties again. We will recover together as a community if we remember that recovery can take time.