Hair salon owner Ivana Panebianco was celebrating Gov. Tom Wolf's announcement that Cambria, Somerset and 14 other counties will move to the green phase of reopening next week.
“I'm so excited,” Panebianco said. “I'll be able to reconnect with all the wonderful clients who have supported us for so long.”
Panebianco owns Salvatore's Hairstyling at 5 Entrance Drive in Westwood.
Salons and gyms will be able to reopen, while restaurants and bars will be able to resume indoor and outdoor dining on June 5, when the counties move from the yellow phase to green.
Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties were all approved to enter the green phase, Wolf announced during a press briefing in Harrisburg.
“We will continue to monitor these counties,” Wolf said. “We'll continue talking with local officials so everyone feels comfortable as we move toward reopening. The goal here is to make sure every Pennsylvanian is confident that they are going to be safe moving from one of these phases to the next.”
Most businesses will be required to operate at reduced capacity and allow for social distancing.
Salons are to operate an appointment-only basis, and gyms are encouraged to require appointments.
Panebianco said that won't be a major hurdle.
“We work by appointment only,” she said. “We'll do our best to follow every guideline and protect everybody.”
Customers have been ready to return, she said, adding that salons not just about personal appearance.
“For some of our older clients," she said, "it's the only way they get out.”
'Get out and socialize'
The social aspect is also important for restaurants and bars, Chuck Arnone said. He and his wife Terri own TnC's Lounge, 640 Bedford St., Johnstown.
Curbside service as kept the business afloat, but Arnone says his customers want to see each other again.
“We're an old-fashioned place,” he said. “We have customers who don't drink alcohol. That's OK. They sit and have coffee. They like to get out and socialize.”
The business is ready to operate under the new guidelines, but Arnone said he hopes he can return to full operation before long.
“We spent the last two months cleaning and making sure everything is as hygienically clean as possible,” he said. “We have to get back to work.”
Kristin Kick and Joe Comisky opened Hair Therapy by Kristin on Feb. 17 in the former Master Cuts location in The Galleria. Kick had worked at Master Cuts when it closed Dec. 31.
The new business was forced to close March 16, but clients are already lining up for the reopening next week.
“They all want in first thing in the morning at 10 (a.m.), when we open,” Kick said.
'Can't wait to start'
Greg Malec is changing his operation to meet the safety guidelines. Greg Malec Barber and Styling, 123 Strayer St., Johnstown, has always operated on a walk-in basis.
Malec is having a sign installed next week so clients know how to schedule appointments.
Johnstown Community YMCA's Shawn Sebring knows the organization and its facilities play an important role in the lives of its members.
“We are so excited about moving into the Green phase and can't wait to start our phased approach to opening,” Sebring said. “This current challenge has been tremendously difficult as an organization but we're hoping to emerge better able to serve Greater Johnstown. When we begin reopening, the safety of our staff, our members, and our community will be the top priority.”
Plans for the YMCA's phased reopening will be announced Monday and will include health checks at the entry, hand cleaning stations and the cleaning of equipment before and after each use.
Ebensburg Recreation Director Dirk Johnson said the community is still working out plans for reopening the Young Peoples Community Center and borough pool.
“People will be excited if we can open the pool,” he said. “I don't know how quickly people will be to come into a gym atmosphere.”
Most of those using the YPCC fitness center have been older individuals, he explained.