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'Judgement Day': Lawrence County Restaurants, Barbers Waiting Anxiously To Reopen In 'Green' Phase

LAWRENCE COUNTY (KDKA) -- Lawrence County is one of 17 counties moving into the "green" phase later this week amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For many businesses in the area, the "green" phase has many meanings. It's the color of the money they need and the go-ahead to survive.

The clippers are poised, and after a fresh coat of paint, Kathy McDonald is anxious to get back to cutting hair in her barbershop.

"You can't realize how excited I am. It's been a little over two months," McDonald said.

Demand for her talents has literally been growing daily on the heads of her long-time clients.

In fact, in her post-coronavirus shutdown days, McDonald is going to be using appointments for the first time.

"Guys have to be a little more patient with me because this is all new to me too," McDonald said.

Two doors down, Robert Rivers is going to spread out the seating inside the National Grind Coffee shop and restore the neighborhood nature of his business.

"It's almost like judgment day for us as businesses to be open and get back some normalcy," Rivers said.

Lawrence County Commissioner Loretta Spielvogel says Friday can't come soon enough, "We have a lot of small businesses that are hurting and it's time for us to move forward."

"We still have to pay attention to the social distancing, to the personal responsibility is the main thing, wearing the mask even though they are irritating to everybody," Spielvogel said.

In the former Diamond Café on the main square in New Castle, the tanning beds are ready and precautions are in place.

Krista Mitchell at Fantastic Tan says it's been difficult to spend two months without income.

"I have a lot of people calling, a lot of people texting me. I think we're all ready as a community to be back up and running," Mitchell said.

Across the square, MP Coney Island had to close its hot dog shop when there wasn't enough take-out business on the square.

It will not reopen but instead be converted to a manufacturing and shipping location for the vendor's legendary chili.

But at the Neshannock store, the steady take-out businesses will be joined Friday by customers again able to sit inside, albeit at every other table.

"And then once one couple leaves," longtime supervisor Betty Cameron says, "We're going to come out and sanitize the tables and the benches so someone else can sit down."

Commissioner Spielvogel says some businesses in the county probably won't survive.

She says the county worked hard to get into the "green" phase, which could all be reversed if precautions aren't taken and cases climb again.

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