DOYLESTOWN, PA — The green phase of coronavirus mitigation is almost here in Bucks County, and Doylestown’s powerful local economy is starting to hum once again. On Friday, Bucks County will move into the green phase along with the rest of southeastern Pennsylvania, the most lax phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan.
For the first time since the pandemic brought the region and much of the world to a grinding halt in mid-March, indoor dining and drinking, barbershops, gyms, and more are allowed to open.
Green phase does not mean business as usual, however, officials are quick to remind the public. While coronavirus cases have steeply dropped around southeastern Pennsylvania, the threat of the virus remains, health officials warn.
All businesses must continue to abide by the state Department of Health’s guidance for operating in the COVID-19 disaster emergency.
“We’re very excited for all businesses to finally open next Friday; it’s been a long road for many of them,” said David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department. “Our citizens have done a terrific job of being mindful of the precautions needed to keep community spread of COVID low, and we need them to continue doing so in the green phase.”
One of the biggest changes from yellow to green is that restaurants and bars are permitted to open up to 50 percent capacity. Many Doylestown restaurants have already opened their outdoor dining rooms, and many more will start welcoming customers indoors as of this weekend.
In Doylestown Borough, there will be a special effort to reignite the local economy as the town moves into the green phase.
The borough is launching a pedestrian area pilot program with the hopes of giving shops and restaurants more area for outdoor dining and sales. Street closures are planned starting June 26, when West State Street from Hamilton to Clinton streets will close from 4 p.m. to midnight.
Street closures are also planned on June 27, July 3, and July 4. Here is more information on that effort.
Over at nearby Peddler’s Village, which has put additional tents up to accommodate for outdoor dining demands, four restaurants will reopening indoor dining at half-capacity.
The Buttonwood Grill, Earl’s New American, Hart’s Tavern, and the Cock ‘n Bull will reopen “with appropriate distancing between tables and customers,” said Christine Hensel Triantos, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Peddler’s Village.
The expanded outdoor dining options will continue to be available as well.
While the shopping village is known for its outdoor festivals, those will continue look different this summer despite moving to the green phase.
Instead of a Bluegrass and Blueberries Festival in July, Peddler’s Village will be hosting Blueberry Month. Restaurants will offer blueberry-themed food and beverages, and live musicians will perform on select weekends.
Also, during the weekend of July 4 and July 5, a “Red, White, and Blue in the Village” event is planned. The celebration will include live music by Galena Brass and additional menu items at the outdoor Water Wheel Food Tent.
“As always, we will have safety measures in place and ask that our guests respect social distancing norms whenever they visit the Village,” Hensel Triantos said.
The green phase has many shaggy-haired residents breathing a sigh of relief. Salons and barbershops can also reopen, but customers can expect some new rules and safety precautions.
Over at Shaving Grace, the popular barbershop on Main Street, “very strict guidelines” will be in place for customers.
Customers will be allowed in by appointment only and must wear masks, among other rules. “Due to this rule, the PA State Barber Boards has noted that, for the meantime, barber shops are to not offer straight-razor shaves or beard trims, of any sort, until further notice. Any service that requires the removal of a clients mask is strictly prohibited,” according to the rules at Shaving Grace.
“To clarify, these points are not merely suggestions; they are requirements and we will not be taking them lightly,” Shaving Grace told customers in a reopening announcement.
The green phase will give the children of Doylestown something to smile about, as well.
Kids Castle will reopen Friday, Doylestown Township Manager Stephanie Mason confirmed.
The popular playground at Central Park has been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The township’s other playgrounds reopened earlier in June, as the county moved to the yellow phase.
However, Kids Castle remained closed because it holds more than 250 people at one time, which is beyond the capacity permitted during the yellow phase of coronavirus mitigation.
Plus, the Fanny Chapman pool will reopen June 27. This season will be different than in the past, however.
In order to adhere to social distancing recommendations, reservations will be required for pool access. There will be no swim lessons or swim meets this season due to the restrictions on gathering sizes and social distancing limitations.
The reservations system will work like this: Members will be able to choose the pool they would like to sit at, and make an online reservation for that pool. More information is here.
The County Theater has announced it will remain closed through the year to expedite its renovation project.
Additionally, gyms are permitted to reopen in the green phase.
At Edge Fitness in Warrington, employees have been preparing for a reopening that will include new protocols, including sanitation stations. There will also be touchless entry for each member and social distancing rules.
The club will enact a “checkerboard” approach, utilizing every other piece of cardio equipment, and the number of people who can participate in group fitness classes will be reduced.
“One of the great things about our clubs is the amount of space that we have. This allows us to comply with state-mandated capacity restrictions while allowing members to safely adhere to social distancing guidelines,” said Jeff Stone, the club’s marketing and administrative officer.
Planet Fitness in Doylestown has also confirmed it’s reopening Friday with capacity restrictions.
Cornerstone, with locations in Doylestown and Warrington, said it will reopen all clubs on July 1.
The club will have a variety of new rules and standards, which can be viewed in full here.
Members will be required to wear face coverings when entering and exiting the building as well as in common areas. “Face coverings can be worn at the discretion of the member but are not required while exercising,” Cornerstone said.
Cornerstone’s spa will reopen on July 7.
As of Thursday, Pennsylvania has reported 83,770 cases of COVID-19, and 6,557 deaths.
Finding Our Way Forward: See more stories about Pennsylvania’s coronavirus recovery
This article originally appeared on the Doylestown Patch