LANSDALE, PA — The green phase of coronavirus mitigation is finally here in Montgomery County, and Lansdale's local economy is starting to hum once again. On Friday, June 26, Chester County will move into the green phase along with the rest of southeastern Pennsylvania, the most lax phase of Gov. 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. Coronavirus cases have steeply dropped around southeastern Pennsylvania and Montgomery County, which, as of Wednesday has average of 33 cases per day over the last two weeks. But the threat of the virus remains, and all businesses must continue to abide by the state Department of Health's guidance for operating in the COVID-19 disaster emergency.
"Covid-19 is not over," Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh said. "Green does not mean going back to the old normal. Green means going forward to a new normal, one where we are living as safely as possible with this virus. The risk is not going to be zero. "
One of the biggest changes from yellow to green is that restaurants and bars are permitted to open up to 50 percent capacity. In the local area, what this will look like will vary based on the establishment. Customers should check with restaurants beforehand, as some require reservations.
Iron Hill in North Wales is opening up limited indoor dining in addition to its outdoor dining offerings, a spokesperson for the company said.
Tables will be spaced six feet apart, menus and condiments will be disposed after each use, and all employees are required to wear masks and gloves. In addition, tables on the patios are spaced eight feet apart.
Iron Hill also said they've specifically dedicated team members to clean surface areas and focus on customer health.
While Iron Hill urges customers to make reservations online, seating both indoors and outdoors at the Pour House on Airport Square is first come, first serve.
At Round Guys Brewing Company, employees are hard at work on renovations and improvements to the interior, including a significant repainting. Head brewer Scott Rudich said Tuesday the outdoor patio as well as limited indoor seating would be open on Friday.
"We'd like to get as many people out for the four o'clock toast as possible," Rudich said, referencing a Facebook Live event which the brewery has hosted throughout quarantine. "We'll be doing a toast inside, a toast outside, in order to celebrate going green (while) social distancing and making sure everybody's healthy. "
The brewery is currently open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., but those hours will expand in the coming days and weeks.
Round Guys is also sponsoring the Lansdale Pride Walk, which will take place on noon on Sunday, June 28. The brewery is holding a pop-up celebration in their parking lot area for the event.
The green phase means more than just increasing business for the popular brewery at their brick and mortar location on Main Street. They've also received their first draft order from a restaurant: Miller's Ale House in the Water Tower Square Shopping Center, where they shipped a keg earlier this week.
But it's not a rush back to normal. At least one of their usual business customers will only be able to open one day a week, at least to start, Rudich said.
Alice Bakery's North Wales location has reopened with outdoor seating. Their hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Wednesday through Sunday.
"We will not have servers, and we will still be offering our curbside service for those customers who wish to continue with that service," owner Dennis Darr told Patch. "We are opening one store at a time to ensure proper procedures are in place and customers are given excellent service."
They're offering pastries, breads, breakfast sandwiches, and lunches to go. Customers can also stay and eat at the outside seating. Alice Bakery's Ambler location will reopen in a similar manner once employees have been trained, Darr said.
Indoor, socially distanced seating at a limited capacity will also be in place at Stove and Tap in Lansdale and several other area eateries. Stove and Tap's new offerings are in addition to its Summer Beer Garden outdoor tent and expanded seating on the sidewalks.
Not all businesses are undergoing significant changes in the green phase. Boardroom Spirits, one of the first distillieries in southeastern Pennsylvania to shift its business operations to provide hand sanitizer to first responders and other frontline workers, will continue to offer the same services as in the yellow phase.
"At this time we are going to continue to offer pick-up, local delivery, and shipping to any address in PA for all of our spirits and ready to drink bottled cocktails," Marat Mamedov, co-owner of Boardroom, said in an email to Patch. "We are still producing hand-sanitizer for essential businesses as well as the community and want to make sure we keep our staff and production safe."
Boardroom is also selling to-go bottled and sealed cocktails which make anywhere from six to 11 drinks, Mamedov said. They're also now selling a new cinnamon and honey whiskey, Fire Bear. A portion of all sales made on Thursday, June 25 of the new whiskey will directly support Dog Town Rescue.
Service on SEPTA's Lansdale/Doylestown regional rail line resumed on Monday, June 22. All riders are required to wear masks. For a schedule, see here.
Area barbershops, which were not permitted to open in even a limited capacity in the yellow phase, are scrambling to prepare for their reopening Friday. Several underwent deep cleans over the past week.
BA Salon, located on Broad Street, said they were faced with a large number of appointment requests, and asked customers to be patient as they caught up with months of missed appointments.
The salon said that masks are required at all times, and that this would impact the type of business they could perform.
"Unfortunately, we are not able to perform any service that requires your mask to be taken off," a spokesperson for the salon said. "This includes facials, lip, and chin waxing."
Customers to the salon are being asked to wait in their vehicle when they arrive, and wait to be called until the salon is ready to serve them.
The green phase also means that other sorts of gatherings are allowed, including concerts.
The Don't Call Me Francis Band will play at Fischers Park on Thursday, July 2 at 7 p.m.
Additionally, the White's Road Park Concert Series is set to begin on July 7 with a performance from the High Noon Band. For a full summer schedule, see here.
The North Penn YMCA has announced that they are opening to the public on Monday, June 29, at 5 a.m. Pools are open on a reservation basis. Many services, including classes and exercise programs, will be available on a limited basis. Locker rooms, open gym times, babysitting, whirlpool and steam rooms, and water fountains remain closed for the time being.
Meanwhile, the borough has announced that their Whites Road and Fourth Street Pools will open on July 1.
As of late Wednesday, Lansdale has 233 coronavirus cases and 30 deaths, and Montgomery Township has 214 cases and 30 deaths due since the outbreak began.
Our Way Forward: See more stories about Pennsylvania's coronavirus recovery