Slowly and surely — and, we hope, safely — things across the Valley are beginning to open.
Some downtown shops are open with social distancing measures and other mitigation in place. Clearly, there is more traffic on the road than two weeks ago so more people are out.
Now it is time to keep up the good work that has gotten us this far. That means masks, social distancing along with continued hand hygiene.
As Geisinger CEO Dr. Jaewon Ryu said last week, dealing with the downside of the COVID-19 curve isn’t like flipping a light switch, it’s more like a dimmer.
Because many in our region have been and remain vigilant, the Valley has been able to slide the dimmer switch a few notches.
The number of cases in the Valley and across the state continues to level off. Monday, the state Department of Health announced 822 new COVID-19 cases, the eighth day in a row the number was less than 1,000.
Closer to home, there has not been a new confirmed case in Snyder County since April 26. Montour County has had between 48 and 50 the entire month of May.
This has allowed some people to return to work as businesses reopen.
If you aren’t comfortable going out, don’t. Many in the Valley are still hesitant. At three Masses at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Danville this weekend — which would normally see about 650 people total — only about 100 worshipped in person, despite the church allowing up to 75 people at each Mass.
There’s nothing wrong with not being ready yet.
If you are comfortable enough to get back out there, be smart and cautious, not only for your health but for those who are out in public with you. The contagiousness of COVID-19, particularly when someone is asymptomatic, make it dangerous for another spike.
If you are going to be in a store, wear a mask to protect other shoppers and employees. Don’t overreact to wearing a mask. Store owners are trying to be as accommodating as possible while following strict guidelines. They want to be open. Help them stay open.
The Valley has been into the yellow phase for more than a week so far. It feels like we are doing a good job of handling personal responsibility, which will remain the key moving forward if the region — and the state — are to go green any time soon.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.