With so much going on around town. Catch up on what you may have missed.
It’s Friday, May 1. Can you believe we made it to May? This week we begin to talk reopening, slowly. West Chester University makes a lot of support opportunities free to residents and businesses. While, many residents cope with power outages. Fortunately your West Chester roundup is mobile friendly. Let’s get this party started.
“Thank you, West Chester. You have saved lives.”
-Mayor Dianne Herrin
When will we reopen? Last weekend Mayor Dianne Herrin sent an email out addressing the question that has been weighing on everyone’s mind, when will we reopen? Unfortunately, but probably not surprisingly, she had few definitive answers, but we did learn a few things:
- All construction businesses are permitted to resume in-person operations.
- Online car sales and notary services are now permitted.
- Some court cases will resume. Monday, May 4, Chester County Courthouse will begin holding preliminary hearings for non-incarcerated criminal defendants using a mix of distanced in person meetings and teleconferences. “I don’t know how well it is going to work, but it’s my goal to try to get back to normal as much as we can,” Magisterial District Judge John Bailey told the Daily Local.
Baby steps. It may still be awhile before we are ready to reopen. The Governor has set the target for reopening to fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 individuals over 14 days. Chester County is still two to three times over this threshold. And the numbers continue to climb, jumping 73 cases last week (with another 25 cases and 4 deaths in the Borough.)
“We believe we have peaked.”
-Jeanne Casner, Director of the Chester County Health Department
Ok, some good news please. That said, could this be the peak? There is some evidence the county may have hit its coronavirus peak towards the end of last week, when the number of new cases recorded in a day hit 70. Since then the numbers of reported cases has dropped to the mid-40s and have remained there for several days. While, there is still a ways to go to get to reopening numbers, at least the things appear to be moving in the right direction.
Did you ring? Speaking of coronavirus, this Sunday will officially be Bells Across West Chester Day in honor of all of those fighting the disease. (Actually, it’s Bells Across PA but I like to keep it local.)
How it will work – the bells will be rung:
- One minute to honor our front-line workers.
- One minute to show solidarity with everyone who is fighting COVID-19.
- One minute to demonstrate our collective resolve that we will prevail and work tirelessly to ensure that our businesses and civic life will thrive again!
To participate just grab a bell and ring voraciously for three minutes beginning exactly at 7 p.m. Sunday night. Hope to hear you all there!
Who could really use an (unpaid) intern right about now? West Chester University’s School of Business is offering FREE marketing support from senior marketing majors for businesses impacted by the global health crisis. WCU Marketing students will be paired with businesses to help with branding, messaging, social media website design, communications and content creation. The aid is available for the rest of the semester and, I believe, several spots are still available. I wonder if upstart bloggers qualify? Apply by emailing Tom Elmer, if you are interested in participating.
Here, let me help. That’s not all West Chester University is dishing out in the way of community help. The University has gathered together a variety of resources and is making them available for free from guided meditation sessions to help with hiring employees virtually. See the full list of opportunities here.
Open, closed, carry out 2.0. Back at the end of March, I gathered together a list of restaurants and retailers that were still open and those that were closed. My list was based on Instagram updates and observations. Now the Center for GIS and Spatial Development has developed a real map with the carry out and delivery status of 115 West Chester restaurants. Now you’ll never have to ask, who’s open? Again.
Don’t forget to support your local papers. Yes, the Daily Local has made its online COVID-19 coverage available to all residents, but that doesn’t mean its writers don’t need a paycheck. This week you’ll find a map of coronavirus testing sites around Pennsylvania (including one at Chester County Hospital), an article on the changes grocery stores are making to limit contact and an update on when property taxes are due.
The warnings. Power and trees down around town. If you are venturing out today watch out for downed trees and wires as PECO continues to work to return service after yesterday’s storm. PECO is reporting 18 outages in the West Chester area affecting about 1000 customers. According to the PECO website, most affected locations won’t have power back until mid-day tomorrow.
This Week in Good News
Need a little good news for a change? Check out all these cool ways people are giving back!
All those hearts around town are now spreading love far and wide. West Chester’s collective effort was featured this week on Main Street America as part of their coverage of COVID-19 community responses. If I could put emojis in the blog, you know there would be a heart right here.
Bar Avalon is at it again with another successful “pay what you want” family style fundraiser. This time raising $16K for the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County.
QVC is joining in the collective relief efforts donating $10 million to support organizations such as Meals on Wheels and No Kid Hungry. They are also working with National Retail Federation Foundation to launch a Small Business Spotlight offering free airtime to select businesses. Looking for national exposure? Prepare your pitch and get ready for your close up.
“Music students in grades K-12 are losing their final spring concerts and end-of-year competitions. While we cannot replicate these experiences… service is an essential component of the lifelong musical experience, and right now is the perfect time to emphasize that.”
-Worldwide Day of Gratitude co-founder Andrew Morrison
In case you missed it, Worldwide Day of Gratitude was yesterday. The day was conceived and launched by three West Chester University Wells School of Music students. The idea was to support front-line workers while also providing an alternative to missed spring concerts. The group was looking to get a global round of “Lean On Me” going. To participate (belatedly) learn the lyrics to the Bill Withers classic, record your rendition and share with the #LeanOnUs, #DayOfGratitude and #ArtsAtWCU.
Accolades. Congratulations to Chester County Hospital which learned this week it will receive 10 million in COVID-19 support funding as part of the state Hospital Emergency Loan Program. While the money provided is not interest free, it is low interest and will help ensure the hospital has the resources to pay for adequate staff and equipment while it waits for federal funding to kick in.
Hello. To some new outdoor entertainment options. While we may not be on the top of the Governor’s to reopen list, there are some modest changes in the works including the slow reopening of some county parks – including Black Rock Sanctuary and Exton Park, which will both open May 6. New options will hopefully alleviate some of the congestion seen at West Chester parks. I’m looking at you, Everhart.
Also, hello to more wine. In addition to more state stores opening this week, we also learned Bar Avalon has received an expanded bar permit meaning you can order your wine through them and pick it up curbside. Grab up to four bottles at a time.
The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? Over here, all the boys are getting a haircut. I borrowed some trimmers and have watched several YouTube tutorials, so I think I am ready. I also think this is the weekend the garden gets planted. Last week Chris built me a second bed so now I can keep my vine plants away from the rest. Now I just need soil and a fence and I am ready to go.
Need help with your garden? Check out this fantastic Instagram series I found. It’s from a WCU dietetics major and master gardener. You’ll learn something and laugh. What more could you want?
After all that I plan on rewarding myself with one of these. Yum.
Stay safe. Stay healthy and don’t forget to be kind.
Viral poem the circulating Borough social channels for reference-
Friends near and far!
🦠 Some are still scared of getting the virus and a second wave happening….that’s okay. Be kind.
💰 Some are sighing with relief to go back to work knowing they may not lose their business or their homes….that’s okay. Be kind.
👩🏾⚕️Some are thankful they can finally have a surgery they have put off….that’s okay. Be kind.
😷 Some will wear masks for weeks….that’s okay. Be kind.
💅🏻 Some people will rush out to get the hair or nails done…. that’s okay. Be kind.
❤️ The point is, everyone has different viewpoints/feelings and that’s okay. Be kind.
We each have a different story.
Don’t judge fellow humans because you’re not in their story. We all are in different mental states than we were months ago. So remember, be kind. ❤
Finally, if you are new here, follow along. We’d love to have you join us.