MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) — Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to announce more Pennsylvania counties can turn yellow. As of 12 a.m., most of the state will be in that phase and there’s a glimmer of hope for other parts of the state. Wolf is also expected to announce the first counties that can turn green.
That’s a milestone because it would mean the end of so-called aggressive mitigation in those areas, but that’s little solace for many in southeastern Pennsylvania. The region is expected to remain red for a while.
The number of COVID-19 cases is still well above the governor’s threshold, but a small business owner and a Republican congressional candidate say enough is enough.
If you head to Giovanni’s Barber Shop in Media, you’ll probably notice all the safety precautions in place. Owner Nichole Missino says she’s booked for the next two weeks.
The barbershop is opening and operating against Pennsylvania stay-at-home orders.
“We’re rocking and rolling over here,” Missino said.
Missino says her decision to open was necessary.
“We were all struggling. No one knew where they were going to get our food,” Missino said.
Missino’s small business is just feet from the Media courthouse where dozens gathered Thursday afternoon, calling for Gov. Tom Wolf to allow Delaware County businesses to reopen.
“There is a great push to get back open,” Rob Jordan said.
Jordan is a Republican running for the 5th Congressional District. He was one of the speakers at Thursday’s rally.
“We’ve been in the red zone for a long time. We need to reopen,” Jordan said.
Jordan says the economic toll of the indefinite closures is simply too large and he praises small business owners who have reopened despite the governor’s order.
“People have to do something that’s productive in society and that’s what reopening businesses and reopening companies is all about,” Jordan said.
But this week, Wolf said his decision to keep certain counties closed is multi-faceted.
“The criteria we use for deciding whether a county will move from red to yellow is broader than just one category,” Wolf said.
Wolf warns business owners like Missino that they could be doing more harm than good.
“When you go to something like a barbershop and you’re not protected, I don’t care who you are, the chances of that virus actually wreaking havoc on your life increases,” Wolf said.
“I took every safety precaution I could think of so I could get open,” Missino said. “I’m protecting myself. I’m protecting my client. It’s time to open. I invite the governor down here to get a haircut and a beard trim.”
Missino says she knows county or state officials could try to close her business, but it’s worth the risk. There will be another reopen rally in Delaware County next Thursday evening.