With so much going on around town. Catch up on what you may have missed.
It’s Friday, March 20. Today we’re talking coronavirus updates. We review what’s still open, look at ways to give back and check out the latest craze consuming the kids. It’s been wild, West Chester. Grab your favorite hoarded liquor and let’s get started.
“Residents of [Chester County] must stay home unless someone’s life depends on it.”
-Governor Tom Wolf
Remember me? I am your neighbor. This is your COVID-19 update:
Chester County: Chester County now has 84 cases of the virus, including six in the Borough, and is currently in the midst of a Stay at Home order and an 8 p.m. curfew. Orders of the governor. Exempted activities include grocery shopping, outdoor activities (as long as you’re practicing social distancing) and seeking or providing some sort of care (there are a few others, but that’s the gist). The order is currently set to end April 6.
The courthouse has suspended all jury trials through April 13.
If you are reliant on bus transportation, plan ahead. They are running on a modified schedule.
Need more data? The County has started a cool dashboard to help track the spread in our area.
The Borough: This is a disaster. In response to the state’s shelter in place order and the continuing spread of the virus, Mayor Dianne Herrin made it official and initiated a state of emergency earlier this week. Under the order, the Borough has implemented new Take-Out Food Procedures for restaurants. Patrons are no longer allowed inside, instead restaurants must be able to provide delivery or curbside pick-up.
In addition to not entering the restaurant:
- All orders must be placed by phone, online or by other no contact means.
- Customers paying in cash must have exact change. Restaurants are not allowed to make change.
- Carry out windows are allowed but if you find yourself in a line, you must keep six feet between you and the next person.
Also, now in place – social gatherings of 10 or more people will get you a citation and a fine.
The Police Department: West Chester Police entered into a collaborative agreement with West Goshen Township. Essentially promising to provide services across jurisdictions should either department experience a shortage of officers due to the virus.
Parks and Rec: West Chester parks remain open for walking, hiking and running, as long a proper distancing is maintained. However, playgrounds, basketball courts and other equipment are closed. Looking for a change of scenery? All state parks remain open to pedestrians (but not the bathrooms.)
Public Works: The Public Works department has been limited to essential operations only. Fortunately, trash and recycling pick up is deemed essential and will continue on its normal schedule. (Yay.) So will yard waste pick up. Just put it out on your normal trash day for now. However, the Borough will not be accepting any drop off items, so if it doesn’t fit in the normal trash collection it will have to wait.
West Chester Business District: Tighter restrictions continue to limit how and if downtown businesses can operate. Many more were forced to close after carry-out was banned. However, businesses that are still operating could use your support. Follow the rules and take a night off from cooking. Find a list of open restaurants here.
To help retail/service employees, the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce has set up a Virtual Tip Jar. The “tips” will be distributed to any workers that typically rely on tips – servers, bartenders, aestheticians – and some that don’t – retail workers, to help them through this challenging time. If you’d like to participate (just think how much you’ve saved since being forced to make your own coffee), make a donation here.
West Chester Area School District: The West Chester Area School District is now targeting April 13 as it’s first day back. To keep on track students will begin work on new material starting next week – up to this point it’s been review, and despite all the absences the last day of school is still scheduled for June 5. Yay, more time with the kids.
West Chester University: West Chester University announced its first confirmed case of coronavirus this week. An off-campus student that traveled outside the U.S. for spring break tested positive for the virus. The student, who is in isolation and doing well, has not been to campus since contracting the virus.
In other news, students are now moved out of on campus housing and ready to resume (now-online) classes.
“The average person doesn’t appreciate how important this is. The more people ignore it and gather in groups, it will get worse.”
-Mike Duncan, president and CEO of Chester County Hospital
Chester County Hospital: Chester County Hospital is implementing new procedures to limit potential exposure of staff and patients to the coronavirus including taking the temperature of anyone entering the hospital. Also anyone meeting the criteria for the virus, is directed to a separate external entrance for testing.
While the hospital is not currently experiencing shortages they are actively seeking donations of protective gear like masks, isolation gowns, eyewear and surgical gloves. If you happen to be a prepper and have stockpiled any of these items, first, we owe you a bit of an apology. Second, it’s time to share. If you’d like to make a donation, contact: Tom Gavin at 484-883-4160
West Chester Public Library: The West Chester Public Library is closed through April 6 under new state orders. During this closure, the library is asking you to keep all checked out materials at home. Don’t worry about the due date. Fines will be waived during this time.
West Chester YMCA – ACAC – Mitch’s Gym: All gyms remain closed but many are offering online classes to help you keep fit while you’re stuck inside.
The warnings. Stay to the left. After much debate and some legal proof, it was determined runners and walkers need to stay on the left-hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Bikers, continue to go with the flow.
Pay it forward. Feel like you could be doing more to help out then staying home and binging Netflix? Here are several initiatives and organizations that could use a helping hand.
Nursing Home Project. Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities are making residents stay in their rooms to limit social spread. Little Wonderkin has launched a letter writing/card campaign to help keep residents’ spirits up. (Doubles as an easy art project for bored kids.) See her instagram post above for all the details.
Friends Association is accepting donations of food and money, in anticipation of a growing need throughout the community.
After blood drives across the region have been cancelled due to closures, the American Red Cross is reporting a critical need for blood donations. The Blood Donation Center on Gay Street is still open and accepting donations. Call ahead to schedule an appointment.
Hello. To a new Labyrinth at Everhart Park. The labyrinth, which is a maze traditionally used for meditation (I had to look it up), was originally scheduled to be built on March 28, but like much else it will be delayed. Also, coming a dog water fountain. Friends of Everhart Park announced this week the fountain has been delivered and will be installed, as soon as a member of the Public Works department is available to help (see above.)
Goodbye. I’m skipping this section. I think we’ve said goodbye to enough lately.
The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? If the weather holds up, maybe we’ll go on a rainbow hunt? We also have a 500 piece puzzle on the agenda, a rewatch or two of Frozen, and I am praying Wasabi is still open. If I have to give up my Friday night sushi, this thing might just break me.
Stay healthy and safe out there.
There was no weekly update last week but I did create this handy list of restaurants and retailers that are still open. If you know of changes to the list, let me know and I will update.
If you are new here, follow along for the latest from West Chester.
Finally because everything in the near future seems to be cancelled here are some fun things to look forward to –
Highland Orchards is bringing its weekly beer garden back starting May 1
A new three day craft brew weekend is coming to West Chester April 24-26
Highland Orchards is welcoming Rufus Wainwright Aug. 18
West Chester Brewfest is on the calendar for June 27 at the Melton Center.