Wyoming County makes its long awaited transition to the green reopening phase this week, but the county commissioners acknowledged that there’s no end in sight just yet.
“That’s not the end but we’re getting there,” Commissioner Rick Wilbur said during Tuesday’s remote meeting for the commissioners.
Wyoming County transitions out of the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan for Pennsylvania this Friday, but restrictions still remain to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Restaurants and bars can open for indoor seating, but only at half capacity. The same rule applies to businesses such as hair salons, gyms and theaters.
Gatherings of more than 250 people are prohibited and face masks are here to stay.
The commissioners plan to continue lobbying for a return to the “old normal,” Wilbur said, noting that the state has yet to specifically announce what comes after green.
“We’re anxiously awaiting what happens,” he added.
They also voted to reopen the Wyoming County Recycling Center in Tunkhannock Township on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon for two weeks to start. After the two weeks, the current schedule will be evaluated again.
Anyone who is still able to drop off their recyclables during the week should continue doing so to ensure that Saturdays don’t get overwhelmed, he said. The center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a five bag per week maximum and no truckloads.
If the center reaches capacity before 3 p.m., it will close for the day, so call ahead at 570-836-0729. People should only bring recyclables that have been quarantined for at least five days, wear masks and practice social distancing.
Recycling Coordinator Mike Rogers shared that an electronics recycling event has been scheduled for July 11 from 9 a.m. to noon. More information is available on wycopa.org.
In other business, the commissioners have seen support from Sen. Lisa Baker and Rep. Karen Boback, as well as others at the state level in protesting a proposed Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency funding formula that would cut the county’s 911 budget by more than half.
The vote on the formula is scheduled for June 18.
“We’ve got a lot of action going on in the House and the Senate to try to squash this,” Wilbur said.
Inspections for two problematic bridges on Lockville Road in Exeter Township and Brides Drive in Falls Township have been scheduled for Wednesday. Afterwards, all other county bridges will be inspected, Wilbur said.
The commissioners also proclaimed June as National Dairy Month with special guest Dale Shupp, president of the Wyoming-Lackawanna County Farm Bureau.
County Planner Lynnelle Farber was also in attendance and announced that three organizations in Wyoming County have been awarded grants from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region.
This includes $8,500 for the Nicholson Heritage Association’s visitor center, $6,500 to the Wyoming County Cultural Center for its mural project, and $5,000 to Keystone College for educational trail signage.
Additionally, the commissioners granted permission for Marta Kovacs-Ruiz, who manages the art gallery at the courthouse, to organize a display by Tunkhannock Area High School students.
“I don’t ever remember doing one for the high school students, so that’s nice,” Commissioner Tom Henry said.
The county courthouse is now open by appointment only as of Monday, and Henry said there have been no issues.
The commissioners will return to their former schedule, meeting every other Tuesday at 9 a.m.
The next commissioners meeting has been set for June 23 via GoToMeeting. For now, only the press can attend these meetings in person.