BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — As Beaver County officials say they are moving the county into the “yellow” phase this week, business owners and local leaders and very much divided on how to approach the situation.
Last Friday, Gov. Wolf announced that 13 southwestern counties would move to the “yellow” phase on May 15. The list did not include Beaver County, which would stay in the “red” phase, where the stay-at-home order is still in effect.READ MORE: Boy, 5, Falls From Second Floor Window
Last week, the Beaver County District Attorney’s Office said it will not prosecute businesses that open in violation of Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown order.
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Beaver County DA David Lozier believes businesses should reopen while following CDC guidelines.
“I’m not going to break the law, number one,” Trish Koodrick, owner of Trish’s Truffles, told KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso. “And the law says I cannot open.”
In a Facebook post, Beaver County Sheriff Tony Guy promised his department won’t punish or cite businesses defying the governor’s order.
“Let’s open back up for business,” said Christopher Beers, owner of Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop. “Enough is enough.”READ MORE: Police: 7 People Hospitalized After Two-Vehicle Crash, 1 Child In Critical Condition
Beers reopened his business on April 26. He has safety measures in place, including plastic dividers and hand sanitizer.
“I don’t want to look at us as us being defiant,” Beers said. “It’s us listening to the rules and applying the safety measures so we keep our employees and customers safe.”
KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso Reports
Despite only just opening her business in November 2019, Koodrich is resolute about not reopening until Gov. Wolf says so.
“I’ve been doing pop-ups for a year and then I get a storefront and then this happens,” Koodrich said. “But it’s no one’s fault. But I have to follow the rules. It’s the way I believe. It’s the health reasons as well.”
Lozier also blames politics for Beaver County not reopening according to Gov. Wolf’s standards.MORE NEWS: Indoor Mask Mandate Ends On West Virginia’s 158th Birthday
“The governor is responding politically,” Lozier said. “I think what he needs to do is to work with the counties and work with the state legislature in order to craft the reopening so that it can be done equitably.”