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Some businesses open; others wish they could: Here's what our reporters found Friday in Lancaster County

From the From rustic tarts to Buchanan's presidential carriage: 10 weekend reads to catch up on today series
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Despite Lancaster County remaining under the "red" phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan, the county “reopened” on Friday. 

The reopening came after 13 Republican officials in Lancaster County signed a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf on May 9 indicating they would gradually begin allowing businesses to reopen today and move the county to the "yellow" stage of Wolf's reopening plan.

We sent about two dozen reporters and photographers out throughout the county on Friday to find out what an unofficial reopening looks like, to talk to residents and business owners.

Here’s what they found.

Strasburg: Consignment shop’s doors wide open 

By 9 a.m., the doors of Fashion Cents Consignment on Decatur Avenue in Strasburg were already open. Some items were set outside one of its two buildings, which used to be a Turkey Hill: a child’s bike, two strollers, children’s push toys. Outside the other building, a couple clothing racks greeted customers. About a half-dozen cars were in the lots.  

Inside, a blue “ReOpen PA Protect The Vulnerable Open The Economy Champion Liberty” yard signs were for sale at $8. A sign directed people to keep 6 feet between one another and to wear a mask. 

Owner Brittany Allen, who opened the store in March 2012, met a reporter and photographer in the parking lot and immediately told them to leave. 

Fashion Cents Consignment 1.jpg

Not considered life-sustaining, Fashion Cents Consignment in Strasburg, seen here Friday, May 15, 2020, opened on Monday, ahead of the timetable when Lancaster County moved from the yellow phase on Friday.

The store had opened Monday, but for some time, it had been offering items for sale via video and by pickup, according to its Facebook page. 

Later in the day Allen returned a reporter’s follow-up call.  

Being forced to close, she said, “I felt it was infringing on my rights.” 

“We opened because I think clothing is essential. I think it’s essential that people can shop where clothes are affordable. And we are selling essential things like masks,” Allen said, adding the store is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. 

Fashion Cents Consignment 3.jpg

Not considered life-sustaining, Fashion Cents Consignment in Strasburg, seen here Friday, May 15, 2020, opened on Monday, ahead of the timetable when Lancaster County moved from the yellow phase on Friday.

Allen employs about 35 people full and part time. “A lot of the full-time people haven’t been able to get a dime of unemployment,” she said, adding she’s not been paying herself, either.

All her workers came back Friday, Allen said. “They’re here because they want to be here. They know the risks. And the customers are here because they want to be here and they know the risks.” 

Meanwhile, bills keep coming. And she had planned on replacing a roof on one of the buildings, which she estimated would cost $50,000. Now, she’s hoping the roof can hold until fall. 

A drive around Strasburg and East and West Lampeter townships found no other businesses deemed non-essential open on Friday morning. 

Dan Nephin | Staff Writer


While many Lancaster County barber shops have yet to reopen under Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at home order, The Vintage Clipper has reopened twice.  

Andre Gonzalez, who owns shops in Millersville, Lancaster city and New Holland, reopened his Millersville location on May 8. Within a few hours, a neighbor called the police, who gave him a verbal warning and shut down the shop.  

So on Friday, Gonzalez, who said he’s just trying to keep his business alive, reopened again in defiance of the governor’s order. Barber shops are not permitted to open before the “green” phase. 

“It’s tough, because there’s still bills that need to be paid,” said Gonzalez, adding that he’s responsible for a mortgage on the Millersville location and rent for the others. 

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Andre Gonzalez owns "The Vintage Clipper," which has three locations in Millersville, Lancaster city and New Holland. The Millersville location reopened Friday, May 15. Customers must wear masks.

Gonzalez said precautions are in place to prevent customers and employees from getting sick: Both must wear masks, customers are encouraged to wait outside in their cars, and barbers must wash their hands and sanitize their station after every haircut.  

Alex Geli | Staff Writer

Leacock Township (Gordonville)

Eileen Horning used a leaf blower Friday morning to clear debris from near the front door of Snyder’s Furniture along East Newport Road in Gordonville. 

On the door, a sign was hung explaining that her store was closed due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Despite county officials push to reopen without state approval, Horning said she’d wait to get the OK from Gov. Tom Wolf before welcoming customers again. 

“It hurts,” Horning said, describing a loss of revenue. 

But she guessed opening could hurt even worse, with the governor threatening to take away necessary permits and licenses from businesses that defy the county’s “red” shutdown designation, which does not allow non-essential retail. 

Already, Horning’s business has been erroneously reported to authorities, accused of breaking the rules, she said. 

“We don’t want any fines,” she said. 

Still, she thinks the store, which sells local hand-made furniture, should be allowed to open, especially because corporate businesses ss have been allowed to. 

“It doesn’t make sense why Walmart can be open, why Home Depot and Lowe’s can be open,” Horning said.  “It seems like they are giving preference to larger businesses.” 

Horning, who wore a mask, said she also is concerned for her customers' welfare. 

“We want to be careful,” she said. 

Sean Sauro | Staff Writer

Leacock Township: ‘They want to get out’ 

Along Old Philadelphia Pike, customers wearing masks browsed a selection outside of Peaceful Valley Furniture on Friday morning. An employee said they weren’t “officially open,” but other employees were seen interacting with customers outside. 


The Leacock Coleman Center 3029 Old Philadelphia Pike in Leacock Township, saw an uptick in business Friday, May 15, 2020, although they have been open, said the store's manager. The store sells pellet fuel and food and does heating system repairs, which are essential services


Creative Home Shop at Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market 2710 Old Philadelphia Pike, East Lampeter Township has been open since May 1.

Down the road in Bird-in-Hand, the Plain Sect manager at Leacock Coleman Center said he noticed an uptick of customers, who were waiting at the door before the outdoors and camping store opened. He guessed the uptick in patronage could have been because of the county’s unofficial reopening. 

The business was allowed to stay open because it sells dried foods and pellet fuel, and its employees conduct heating system repairs, the manager said. 

Mostly, though, customers recently have been buying non-essential outdoors equipment, specifically backyard barbecues, he said. 

“They want to get out,” he said. “People are fed up with being inside. They’ve had enough.” 

And employees at two Bird-in-Hand craft-and-knickknack stores said they’ve been open to customers since May 1. At the Creative Home Shoppe, days of operation had been cut back, a Plain woman said. She wasn’t sure if her boss has a waiver to remain open during the pandemic. 

Across a parking lot at Village Country Crafts, a cashier shook her head when asked if the business has a waiver. She guessed it was OK to open because the store is connected to a farm market, which sells essential food. 

Sean Sauro | Staff Writer

Lancaster city: Park City stays dark

Park City remained dark on Friday, choosing to follow Wolf’s designation of Lancaster County rather than the designation of the two GOP county commissioners. 

A handful of employees were in their stores at the county's biggest retail center, but they were filling online orders, cleaning and doing other chores. 

The one activity that did happen as scheduled was a blood-donor drive for the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank. The mall allowed the blood bank to use the former Banana Republic space at no charge. 

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The Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank is hosting a blood drive at the former Banana Republic at Park City Center mall on Friday, May 15.

But the pandemic had an impact there too. To provide social distancing, the blood bank could handle only 40 donors, down from the usual 75 to 100, said blood bank spokeswoman Dana Lipson. 

“We can’t advertise (the event) too much, because we don’t have enough time slots” to handle a typical turnout, she said. 

Tim Mekeel | Staff Writer

Manheim Township: Shoppes at Belmont shuttered  

None of the idled stores at Shoppes at Belmont took advantage of the commissioners’ move and reopened, said Kevin Lahn, executive vice president of Waters Retail Group, which manages the retail area. 

Lahn said he sent copies of LNP’s coverage of the commissioners’ action to all the closed tenants to make sure they knew of the opportunity. 

“It would be nice for the governor to officially re-open the county ASAP as our tenants are all hurting and need revenue to pay their rent, utilities, and employees -- especially the restaurants,” he said. 

Tim Mekeel | Staff Writer

Manheim: ‘I’m a mess, man’ 

A man was standing outside Sheetz, on Lancaster Road in Manheim, asking for money Friday. 

Two dollars for cigarettes. 

“I’m stressed out, man,’’ he said. 

Across Lancaster Road was the Manheim Auto Auction, where the man, who declined to give his name, said he had worked, until lately, washing and prepping cars for the auction block. 

“My wife left me,’’ he said. “I got nothing.” 

He had a mask on, but it wasn’t covering his mouth. 

“I’m paying a buddy five bucks a night to crash on his couch. Otherwise I’d be sleeping on the streets.’’ 

The Auction is the 11th-largest employer in Lancaster County, but its parent company, Cox Automotive, announced Wednesday it was furloughing 682 employees on or about May 17. 

“Right now, we don’t know that any of these furloughs will be permanent,’’ the company said in a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, “but it is possible that presently unforeseeable circumstances may cause us to revise our outlook.” 

At full capacity, the auction runs 36 lanes of cars, spread over a 400-acre facility. 

The man said the section of the auction where he worked normally included 12 lanes of cars. Just before he was laid off, it was down to two.  

“I’ll beat (the addiction to cigarettes),’’ he said. “I know I can. But not now. I’m just so stressed.  

“I’m a mess, man.” 

Mike Gross | Sports Writer

New Holland: Worries about isolation

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Linda Dibartolo, co-owner of Tannery Antiques, said the shutdown has been tough. “It’s been tough to survive it,” she said. “It’s been hard on my employees.”

New Holland appeared to be slowly getting back to business on Friday. Some shops were open, although only a few customers were on the streets. 

Tannery Antiques co-owner Linda Dibartolo said she has lost friends from COVID-19 and suicide in self-quarantine, but the shutdown has also been tough on her business and her employees. She said she has yet to receive assistance. 

 “I’m not going against the governor, but I really don’t care what he has to say,” she said. “I think everyone needs to get back to normalcy. It’s not good for the kids; it’s not good for anyone to be isolated.“ 

Across the street at Fix My Computer Please, employee Jose Figueroa said his boss had applied for an exemption, but didn’t get one, despite a similar store receiving a waiver. He said he has seen 2-3 customers a day since opening Tuesday. 

Carter Walker | Staff Writer

 Manheim: Takeout only 

A woman had just picked up some takeout food from Mill 72 Bake Shop and Cafe along the main drag in Manheim. 

A few customers — young women, one holding a toddler — and one media type stood within social distance of her path to the door. 

She asked for more room, and we obliged. 

“I know it’s hard for you young guys,’’ she said to the women. 

“You, too,’’ she added, to the reporter. 

Mill 72 opened in February of 2019. Before the pandemic, it had established itself as a space near the middle of town where people could work remotely, socialize, or gather on sofas around a fireplace and hang out. 

Officials from the nearby Manheim Central School District administration building would hold informal meetings there. Realtors would bring clients there to talk over coffee. 

“The interaction with people is what we really miss,’’ said Brian Miller, whose wife, Melanie, owns Mill 72. 

“Some people, as soon as they come in, we already know their order. It’s kind of like family.’’ 

The cafe fronts a complex called REO Market Place that includes the Prussian Street Arcade, a mini-mall of boutique vendors that is currently closed, and a currently empty space that a sign says would be perfect for a restaurant or brewery. 

Miller said, though, that nothing changed at Mill 72 as Lancaster County began re-opening Friday. 

He estimated that before the pandemic, a quarter to a third of the cafe’s business was takeout. 

“Now, obviously, it’s 100%,’’ he said. 

Around town there was scant indication that anything had changed Friday. There was plenty of traffic. Almost everyone wore masks and appeared to be obeying social distancing. 

Larger retailers, like Longenecker’s True Value Hardware and the surrounding shops in the Manheim Shopping Center, were open, with the parking lot perhaps half full. 

But the restaurants and pizza shops around the center of town were still advertising limited hours, and takeout only. Two barber shops, a used-record store and tattoo parlor were closed as of late morning.  

A sign on the front door of Divine Consign consignment shop on Market Square read, “Sorry we’re closed, but still awesome.’’ 

Mike Gross | Sports Writer 

Ronks: ‘You can’t continue like this’

Patti Skiadas stood with a mask near her Ronks restaurant, Route 30 Diner, Friday morning. The restaurant’s interior has been closed since state stay-at-home orders were issued in March, but customers could order take-out from a menu displayed at a makeshift outdoor counter. 

“I want to open, but they won’t let me,” she said, also fearful of defying state orders. 

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Patti Skiadas, owner of Route 30 Diner in Ronks, is fed up with Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order, which has forced her to downsize her staff, menu and hours. But she won’t follow county leaders by opening her restaurant against state orders.

Even under the “yellow” designation restaurants are not permitted to open for dine-in customers. 

Skiadas said the volume of customers visiting her restaurant dropped dramatically, and mostly, she is serving long-haul truckers, many of whom spend nights in her diner’s parking lot. 

She guesses she could reopen safely and hopes state officials will give her the opportunity soon. 

The shutdown has forced her to downsize her staff, menu and hours, creating a financial situation that is not sustainable, Skiadas said. 

“I’ll lose my shirt,” she said. “You can’t continue like this.” 

Sean Sauro | Staff Writer


Ephrata borough was one of a few municipalities to vote against a resolution supporting early reopening for Lancaster County. On Friday morning, there were more people on murals than in the streets. 

At Green Dragon in Ephrata Township, the parking lot was busy yet one of the outdoor vendor areas was empty, which is not common on a sunny day. 

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Green Dragon in Ephrata had plenty of traffic Friday morning, May 15.

Erin Negley | Staff Writer

Downtown Lancaster: Options limited

The pandemic continued to cast a shadow on downtown Lancaster’s street scene Friday despite the summerlike weather. 

Although lots of people were out and about -- some wearing masks, others not -- they had limited options. 

Shops and offices remained closed. Some restaurants were offering takeout only. 

But behind closed doors, some retailers, including Kathy Frey, owner of Festoon Boutique, 202. N. Duke St., were filling online and phone orders and getting ready for the new normal when Pennsylvania says it’s safe to move to the yellow phase. 

“I’d have to say overall it’s been an awful experience,” Frey said, “but we have turned lemons into lemonade, and business continues. We had a phenomenal Mother’s Day week. We are doing well, although we do need to open.” 

Frey said she has kept four of five employees working through the shutdown and the one who was furloughed will return next week. 

When Festoon does open, Frey anticipates allowing no more than eight customers at a time into the 3,500-square-foot shop. She said cleaning and sanitizing is already a ritual for her workers. 

“I feel very positive about the future,” Frey said. The pandemic “is not going to define me or our store by any means.” 

Nearby, at El Ricon Ponceno, 255 N. Queen St., a casual, Puerto Rican-style restaurant featuring a wide variety of sandwiches and mofongos, from pastrami to octopus, customers could enter to place take-out orders for the first time since March. 

But no more than three were allowed in at a time, and they had to stay on X’s marked on the floor to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from each other. 

“When we seen little businesses open up, we were like, ‘Let’s give it a try and see how it works,’” staffer Leorein Quinones said. “It’s been going good so far.” 

Employees wore masks, and Quinones said hand washing is emphasized. 

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Lizabeth Estrella, 24, manager of El Rincon Ponceno restaurant in downtown Lancaster started allowing up to 3 takeout customers to enter. But no dine-in service yet as of Friday, May 15.

“The virus is still going to keep spreading,” she said. “We wasn’t gaining a lot of money like we used to” when orders were taken at curbside or by phone, “but it was something.” 

“And now it’s getting better,” Quinones said. 

Just up the street, Alisha Haas of Lancaster City Nutrition, 307 N. Queen St., was continuing to serve grab-and-go customers as she has since the pandemic began. 

Alisha Haas

Alisha Haas of Lancaster City Nutrition, 307 N. Queen St., sells smoothies, teas and healthy shakes. She was filling grab-and-go orders on May 15, 2020.

“It has been slower than normal,” Haas said of customers for her nutrition-oriented smoothies, teas and shakes.  “But a lot of people have turned towards health and nutrition during this time. I’m looking forward to things opening up soon. I believe the community wants to get out and shop and support the small businesses.” 

Rich Stewart, 64, would say amen to that. He favors moving past yellow and going right to green. 

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Rich Stewart, 64, of downtown Lancaster, favors moving to "green" phase. He said he thinks yellow is too restrictive, he said to a reporter Friday, May 15, 2020.

“Barrooms should be open,” said Stewart, of downtown Lancaster, an assembly line worker for truck bodies. “I like to have a place to go to after I put in a hard day’s work.” 

Jeff Hawkes | Staff Writer

Lancaster city: The scene at Central Market 

Lancaster Central Market’s management continued its single-entrance/single-exit protocol and other social distancing measures on Friday. 


People walk during the reopening of the county at Central Market in Lancaster on Friday, May 15, 2020.

But some shoppers seemed less diligent. 

While masks are mandatory for entrance to the market, some shoppers’ face masks only covered their mouth, not their noses, too, as the CDC recommends.  

At the newly reopened Lancaster County Coffee Roasters stand, one woman had pulled her mask to her neck to place an order and waited for her coffee drink without recovering her face. Although more vendors have returned to market, there are still many empty stalls, including Rooster Street Butcher, The Herb Shop and The Grain Shop. 

Outside, four people sat on benches and one man sang and played guitar on the steps of Lancaster Dispensing company. Just one of the five was wearing am ask, and it was not the musician. 

A short walk up North Queen Street showed fewer masked pedestrians than those who were not. 

Kim O’Donnel | Staff Writer

Maytown: ‘We have to do something’

Homestead Furnishings & Gifts reopened Friday.  

While the store continued with private orders and a few wholesale shipments over the last two months, store owner Robin Smith said her business suffered a 95% decline in sales, resulting in layoffs for two full-time and three part-time employees.  

Smith is limiting her store to 8 to 10 customers inside at a time, encouraging them to wear masks, and she provides hand sanitizer and wipes at the entrance and is constantly sanitizing surfaces and door handles.  

“It’s come down to the fact that we can’t pay our bills. We have to do something,” Smith said. “Our customers have been reaching out. They’re ready. They want to come out. We’re certainly not encouraging anyone to come out who doesn’t feel safe. My attitude, too, is this is no less dangerous than going to a Wal Mart, Target or Lowe’s. There’s less chance of catching something here. ...Why is it the big box stores continue to thrive while all of us are losing our businesses?” 

John Walk | Sports Writer 


Pizza shops, cafes, Chinese cuisine and other restaurants were fulfilling takeout orders Friday, while Elizabethtown Public Library CEO Deb Drury said it has remained in operation throughout the pandemic. While the library’s front doors are locked, the library is fulfilling book requests through phone calls and emails, and also provides activity bags and magazines outside the store each day that children and adults can take free of charge. Additionally, the library operates the attached Elizabethtown Coffee Company, which has been selling to-go orders.  

LaundrE-town is a new laundromat that just opened May 1 after the property, previously a hair salon, was renovated over the last 18 months.

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LaundrE-town is a new laundromat that just opened May 1 after the property, previously a hair salon, was renovated over the last 18 months. Store owners sanitize door handles, machine handles and surfaces each day, and are encouraging customers to wear masks and practice social distancing, said Craig Rothstein, who is the husband of the owner.  Friday, May 15, 2020

Store owners sanitize door handles, machine handles and surfaces each day, and are encouraging customers to wear masks and practice social distancing, said Craig Rothstein, who is the husband of the owner. 

Sequential Arts comic book store on the square in E-town has maintained daytime hours throughout the pandemic, but has kept its front door locked and instead encourages customers to knock on the door so owner Jim Procopio can limit the store to two to three customers at a time.

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Sequential Arts comic book store in Elizabethtown. Owner Jim Procopio says he fulfilled private orders for 21 customers last 2 months, "It's paid the bills" He has door locked but is open, limits shop to 2-3 customers at a time.

Procopio said he has been able, “to pay the bills” thanks to 21 loyal customers who have continued to purchase comics over the last two months, but his business has suffered a significant drop in sales, largely because Diamond Comic Distributors stopped shipping comics two months ago. 

John Walk | Sports Writer


The mood in the borough was tranquil with no scenes of storefronts opening after months of being shuttered due to stay-at-home orders. Families filled the Lititz Spring Park and sidewalks, although they mostly left their masks off, they did remember to socially distance themselves from one another. 

At Tomato Pie Cafe,in the heart Lititz, customers donned masks as they went inside to order their food or pick up their to-go orders.   

But according to Karen Fisher, owner, the restaurant is ready for much more — they should have started dine-in services weeks ago, she said.  

“I think it’s been way overdue,” Fisher said. “It’s been disheartening that we’ve had to wait this long. We could have safely been doing this (dine-in) for weeks.”  

Fisher believes that moving the county into the “yellow phase”  is a good idea.  

“Without a shadow of a doubt,” Fisher said she knows that her restaurant could be ready for diners to safely enjoy their food inside. But for now, they will follow the Governor’s timeline.  

Hurubie Meko | Staff Writer 

Strasburg: The parks are quiet 

If this was any other time, a sunny, 82-degree Friday afternoon would be packed with tourists and townspeople alike. But, even as some businesses around the county open, things in Strasburg remained fairly quiet. 

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Strasburg Jaycee Park remains closed Friday, May 15, 2020.

The entrance to the Strasburg Rail Road – a favorite for seasonal traffic – was crowded with bright orange traffic cones blocking the parking lot. The Village Green Miniature Golf course was empty except for a few landscaping workers in neon yellow shirts eating lunch around a picnic table. The Strasburg Jaycee Park was closed and caution tape is strewn across the playground equipment. At the baseball field across from the Strasburg Pool, a young slugger set baseballs on a tee and hit them into an empty field. Even the cows and goats seemed to be observing social distancing guidelines as they huddled in small clusters in the fields. 

A few miles out of town, on Lincoln Highway, where traffic would typically be bumper-to-bumper, traffic remained light. The Tanger Outlets parking lot resembled a barren landscape as most stores remained clothes, though some smaller stores on Route 896 remained open and showed signs of life as shoppers returned to their natural habitat. 

Mike Andrelczyk | Staff Writer


It was nearly 85 degrees out, but nobody was doing much hanging around on the North Reading Road portion of Route 272 on Friday. Of course, North Reading Road isn’t really a “hanging around” area – there are dozens of antique shops, small restaurants and the occasional auto yard. 

As a whole, the 14-mile stretch from the Adamstown Park and Ride through to Sheetz #269 looked much as it has for the last several weeks – occasionally desolate, with few signs of life outside of the intermittent curbside pick-up. Some businesses had signs that proclaimed “Closed for now” or “We’ll be back soon!” or “March Madness deals!”  

Much more pointedly, the Garden Spot Motorcycle Club’s sign currently reads, “We are not cowards.” 

It stands to reason that shops located in the “Antique Capital of the World” might want to take their time reopening. After all, these are mostly businesses predicated entirely on customers getting as handsy as kids in the back of a prom night limousine with items to assure their stability and value. Perhaps giving the antiques a few more months to collect value on store shelves will be some small consolation. 

Much of the debate between opening and closing the county is predicated on the idea of small businesses generally being closed, with big chains staying open. One thing is for absolute certain – the Burger King at 310 N. Reading Road in Ephrata must be using its dine-in area as an overflow room for money, Scrooge McDuck-style, because it has never looked more packed than it did around 1 p.m. today. The chain, which claims to be the 30th best restaurant in Ephrata, had no less than 17 cars wedged in and up out of its two lanes of service. There would have been 18, but alas, even spicy nuggets are not worth that kind of wait. 

Kevin Stairiker | Digital Staff

Columbia/Marietta/Mount Joy: Quiet business districts

Business districts in the boroughs of Columbia, Marietta and Mount Joy were quiet Friday, with little activity.  

A few private residences displayed "Reopen PA" signs in Mount Joy and Marietta, but storefronts for businesses deemed "not essential" by the state like Shupp's Barber Shop in Columbia and Moon Raven Alley in Mount Joy left their "store closed" signs intact.  

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Columbia seems empty Friday morning, May 15, the day that Lancaster County officials decided to reopen the county against the state's orders.

Like every other public library in the state, the Milanof-Schock Public Library remains closed, but that didn't stop library staff from changing its sign to simply state "we miss you!" 

Junior Gonzalez | Staff Writer

Bridgeport and East Lampeter 

On the first day that Lancaster County began partially reopening, much remained the same: Restaurant chains were still curbside pickup and takeout services only. The big box stores and other shops deemed essential had staffers out front, making sure all customers were wearing masks to gain entrance.  

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Mattress Warehouse in East Lampeter, Pa.

While a lot of people were outside enjoying the season's first 80-degree day, and frequenting those essential shops and markets with masks at the ready, the most common sign seen on storefronts and entrance doors was still this one: Closed because of COVID-19. 

Jeff Reinhart | Sports Writer

Ephrata: Masked, then unmasked, in Brownstown 

Meanwhile in Brownstown, two garden supply stores were open down the road from one another, one much larger than the other. Workers in both stores said they were open under the exception that allows agricultural suppliers to continue operating as an essential business – neither mentioned a waiver. 

Everyone at Farmstead Flowers was required to wear a mask, the store even offered masks for $4.96. One woman, observed shopping at both locations, was wearing a face mask at Farmstead Flowers, but not while she was down the road at the smaller store.  

Hurubie Meko | Staff Writer


East Lampeter Township 

At Mill Creek Square on Lincoln Highway East, one store did take advantage – Bed Bath & Beyond began offering curbside pickup Friday of orders that are placed online. 

Also on Lincoln Highway East, Tanger Outlets stayed shutdown; The Shops at Rockvale was almost entirely closed. Only Direct Tools Factory Outlet, deemed a life-sustaining business, is operating. It offers curbside pickup on weekends. 

Tim Mekeel | Staff Writer

Lancaster city: ‘They need to take it day by day’

Lashanda Nunn said she doesn’t think the county should open yet.

"This virus is just too much and until something is done about the infections or a cure we need to remain in a lock-down,” Nunn, of Bever Street, said. “You open up and we are going to see more cases. Nobody is ready for it. I personally want my four children to be safe. I want to see my grandson grow up.”

Andrew Street resident Daniel Luciano said he doesn’t go anywhere other than to buy food.

“I don’t think we should open. For what? To see more people die from it? I don’t know when the right time to open will be … maybe we should wait another month and see what happens,” he said.

Letha Wright said politicians need to keep everything closed.

“They need to take it day by day,” the Green Street resident said. “Things might be nice and sunny today but the next day might bring a thunderstorm. We have to wait and see … there’s no need to open right now.”

Wright’s daughter, Sheila Wright, works at the Turkey Hill at Plum and Chestnut streets where an employee tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this year. She said there is no reason to reopen right now.

“There’s no need to be going out there infecting other people,” she said. “This is not about us. It’s about the older people. It’s about our parents. I don’t want to lose my parents to the virus so we do everything we can and listen to what the governor has asked us to do to stay safe.”

Tina Johnson, of Green Street, said it’s too early to reopen.

“The situation is too risky,” Johnson said. “Wait until we know for sure that there are no more infections, until people are no longer being hospitalized, or until we can actually go out and eat at restaurants safely without distancing and other precautions. We want to be safe.”

Jessica Puryear said “Don’t do it. Don’t open Lancaster.”

The Orange Street resident said reopening shouldn’t happen until we are sure there are no risks.

“I have kids and I’ve heard they want to open the schools, but what if your kids bring the virus home? How about the nursing homes? Those folks don’t usually go out so that means someone brought it in to them,” she said. “Let’s wait until we know we will be ok and safe.”

Enelly Betancourt | La Voz Lancaster

Mount Joy to Manor Township

Traffic on Route 30 east seemed back to regular volume Friday morning, but the restaurants surrounding the area were still operating on lockdown protocol.  

Mohamed Sheasha, the owner of Centerville Diner in Manor Township, was sitting alone in his diner, taking orders on the phone.  

reopening Lancaster

Mohamed Sheasha, owner of the Centerville Diner in Manor Township, takes an order over the phone on Friday, May 15, 2020. Sheasha said that he doesn't think it's good idea to host dine-in customers until Gov. Tom Wolf moves Lancaster County into the yellow phase.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said, regarding opening his restaurant up to dine-in customers.  

He said he’s waiting for the green – or yellow – from Gov. Tom Wolf, in fear that if he opened to diners too early, he could lose his license.  

It was much the same at other spots across the western side of the county, too.  

Chain restaurants in plazas from Manor Township to Mount Joy continued their drive-thru or carry-out options.  

And locally-owned places like Papa’s Pizza in Mount Joy only allow customers to come in to place orders, pay or pick up their meals, shielded with plexiglass in front of the register.

Ty Lohr | Digital Staff