Remember, yellow normally does not mean it’s safe to ‘go’

A yellow traffic light typically does not mean “proceed with caution.”

Typically, it means slow down. A red light is coming.

But today, we get the yellow light that signals an ability for life to get moving again — with extreme caution.

Today most counties in our region enter the yellow phase in Pennsylvania as it relates to Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 shut-down order.

In this phase, some businesses are allowed to reopen with restrictions: masks, social distancing, enthusiastic hand washing and limits on how many people may enter a place at one time.

Restaurants will continue to be limited to carryout and delivery.

Entertainment venues and gyms still will be closed.

And while the stay-at-home order is lifted, large gatherings continue to be banned and social distancing — staying 6 feet away — remains the rule of the day.

In other words, it sounds like we are allowed to work in some fashion, do business and limited shopping in some fashion, maybe visit a few people, but that’s about it.

Of course, we say “it sounds like” because pinning down a good definition of “aggressive mitigation while lifting the stay-at-home order” has been difficult. We turned to our area lawmakers to find out what Gov. Wolf has yet to clearly define — we wonder how today is much different than yesterday when we were still in the red phase — but even they were puzzled.

“I will be honest. What is the difference between red and yellow?” said state Rep. Jeff Wheeland, R-Loyalsock Township. “Is it just social distancing?”

“I think what that means is the stay-at-home order is lifted, but people need to be cognizant,” state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Pennsdale said. “We should continue to wear masks, wash our hands, practice safe distancing. Things are not over.”

We wish it wouldn’t have taken a pandemic to get people to wash their hands, but we’re happy about this new-found habit, and we do believe that we should proceed with extreme caution this weekend as we make our Mother’s Day rounds, even if we must resist the temptation to hug family members outside of our own homes.

It is of paramount importance that we take responsibility now for conducting life’s business in a manner that remains cognizant of the threat that could easily resurrect itself should we let down our guard.

Remember, yellow normally doesn’t mean “go.”


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