Blue 52 is one of several local barbershops and hair salons looking forward to opening safely in the green phase. Photo by Dylan Francis.

While every driver knows that “green means go,” the traffic-light colors of Pennsylvania’s curve-flattening stages don’t make entirely clear that this green does not mean “go.” Green in this case is only the next level of a slow and careful reopening in the context of an ongoing global pandemic. Even—and perhaps especially—in the green phase, caution, kindness, and patience continue to be absolutely necessary.

The green phase offers long-overdue opportunities for haircuts and other services as well as the chance to exercise “together but apart.” Green also provides some welcome relief for small businesses, and in particular for hair and nail salons, massage parlors, barbershops, and fitness facilities, all of which can reopen in accordance with state and CDC guidelines.

Restaurants, most of which have found it difficult to weather the shutdown with takeout business alone, will also be able to offer some indoor table service in addition to properly distanced outdoor dining in the green phase. Many Kennett Square restaurants will continue to offer takeout, as well as outdoor dining, as street closures and weather allow. Grain Craft Bar+Kitchen, for example, will be adding indoor seating and limited bar seating downstairs to their rooftop dining, says owner Lee Mikles.

In all of this, the safety of customers and staff is paramount, and local business owners have been working tirelessly for months—designing safety protocols, installing new equipment, and even redesigning their spaces in some instances—to be ready to serve customers safely. And their collective message to customers is a heartfelt “Welcome back!”

Mike and Barry Fragale, of Fragale Brothers Barbershop on South Union Street, are excited to get back to work on the 26th. While they’re usually closed on Mondays, “We will be open Monday the 29th to help out our customers who went three months plus waiting for a haircut,” they say. “In accordance with CDC and the Pennsylvania State Board of Barber Examiners, customers must wear a face mask at all times during the service and in the barbershop.” They urge patience, too, as they need to ask each customer a few COVID-related questions and their waiting area will be reduced. Customers may have to wait in their cars until it’s time for their service.

But while some things will feel different, the warm welcome will be the same. “We’re looking forward to seeing all our great customers again!” the Fragale brothers say. “It’s been a tough almost four months away from them. A long time ago, one of our customers said, ‘When you’re in Fragale Brothers Barbershop, you’re not just a customer—you’re family.’ Going through this made us realize how much our Fragale Brothers family means to us!” Mary Hauer, owner of Artistic Edge Salon, agrees. “I’m just so thankful to be a part of this wonderful community. The people of Kennett have been so kind to us and supportive,” she says.

A quick COVID-19 questionnaire, masks, and waiting in the car will also be part of the new protocols to keep everyone safe at Kennett Square Massage. Starting in early July, owner Stacy Madonna and her colleague Claire will be working alternate days to see clients who lost their appointments due to the shutdown. They’ll slowly increase the availability of appointments, Madonna says, while continuing to leave adequate time between clients to completely sanitize the office. Another challenge of reopening, she says, is that many of the supplies they need have been on backorder. “Instead of settling for products of inferior quality or overpaying, we’ve opted to wait until everything is in place properly to open.” She’s also grateful for her patient and understanding clients. “They’ve been so supportive with their kind messages and we really cannot wait to see them in person again!”

The green phase also allows gyms and fitness centers to reopen, and the YMCA and ANCHOR life + fitness are among those that will reopen their doors this week. Some of the changes clients will see, says Charlene Richardson, owner of ANCHOR life + fitness, are much like those for other businesses. Clients will enter with a mask and take off their shoes, and their temperature will be taken. “The gym has been redesigned and taped off to provide eight-feet distance in each workout spot,” Richardson says. ANCHOR will continue to provide both in-gym and virtual classes to all members and any new members, and will also be hosting a fitness and yoga camp. “I am so grateful for our members who stuck with us and supported us during this challenging time,” she says. “I can’t wait to get back into ANCHOR and see everyone each day as they continue on their health and fitness journey.”

“We encourage everyone to continue on through this green phase in the same spirit of caution, care, and support—for each other, for the most vulnerable among us, and for local businesses,” says Historic Kennett Square Executive Director Bo Wright. The Historic Kennett Square website features a continuously updated listing of opening times for local businesses as well as links to state and county guidelines for businesses and consumers in the green phase.