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Some county businesses already open; others ready to go

CHRIS MORELLI/THE EXPRESS Matt Welty, sales manager at Beiter’s in Lock Haven, stands in the middle of the store’s showroom on Thursday afternoon. Beiter’s has been open since mid-May even though Clinton County goes green today.

LOCK HAVEN — Clinton County goes green today.

For many businesses, turning green means they will be opening their doors for the first time today since mid-March. At Beiter’s located on Main Street in Lock Haven, the doors have been open since mid-May.

According to sales manager Matt Welty, Beiter’s has been busy since it re-opened 25 days ago.

“We did see an increase. Going by (numbers from) the year before, we definitely saw an increase over last year,” Welty said. “Being closed for two months, people were needing this product or that product.”

Welty said that Beiter’s caters to each and every customer.

CHRIS MORELLI/THE EXPRESS Beiter’s employee Tina Schauer helps customer Billie Jo Shoop of Renovo Road on Thursday in the showroom of the store.

“Not everybody is comfortable shopping online, not everybody is comfortable not being able to touch the product that they’re actually purchasing,” Welty said.

Since re-opening, Beiter’s has been practicing social distancing. Beiter’s employees wear masks, customers are asked to wear masks upon entering the store, there are sneeze guards at the counter and tables have been placed to create a barrier between the counter and customers.

“I have had no opposition from anyone walking in the door. If someone didn’t have a mask, they’d say, ‘Oh, I don’t have mine.’ In that case, we are able to provide them with one. We haven’t had any problems or concerns. These things you see on the internet … we’ve seen none of that. Everyone has been very understanding and compliant,” Welty said.

Beiter’s carries appliances, home furnishings, mattresses and seasonal items. In addition to its Lock Haven location, there are stores in Mansfield, Milton, South Williamsport and Sunbury.

Welty said that a few products have risen in popularity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — freezers and sectionals.

“We were closed for seven weeks. We don’t have any freezers. People were buying them … that’s the appliance version of toilet paper. Sectionals, too. People were home and they realize they hate their sofa,” Welty said with a laugh.

There is a lot of space to roam the floor at Beiter’s. That isn’t by design, according to Welty.

“If you look at our floor, you see a lot of holes, we’re looking a little sparse, that’s because manufacturers were shut down, too. We’re waiting for stock to come in. It’s not that we don’t have things to sell and it’s not that we don’t have things to offer, it’s just that we don’t have as much backstock as we usually do. We’re trying to catch up,” Welty said.

Beiter’s is open at 10 a.m. every day except Sunday.

At other businesses, today’s re-opening will mean more of the status quo. Original Italian Pizza in Lock Haven and Mill Hall will continue to do takeout only. On its Facebook page, OIP explained why it is not offering dine-in service just yet: “We did not come to this decision lightly. Restaurants across the state have received Industry Guidelines that we must adhere to in order to be Green Phase Compliant. We take these guidelines very seriously for the sake of our customers and our staff. Unfortunately, as much as we wish it were the case, it’s not as simple as turning on the lights and welcoming everyone back. The key is to make our locations safe but also as normal as we can make it under these guidelines.

“We are beyond thankful for our patrons during this difficult time in the world! Because of all of you, we are still operating and we’ve been able to bring back almost all of our staff! We hope that you can be patient with us as we navigate through this process. Please continue to look for updates as we move closer to opening our doors!”

Other businesses will ease into re-opening. The Salvation Army Thrift Store, 111 E. Main St. will open its doors following a long hiatus on Monday, June 8. Its new hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will be closed on weekends. Senior hours will be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday through Friday. The thrift store asked that all patrons wear masks and practice social distancing. Fitting rooms and restrooms will not be available and donations will not be accepted at the store.

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