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Hot spot Hazleton now back in green

The city was a hot spot for coronavirus and worried health officials, but now residents are thrilled with how they've confronted the virus.

HAZLETON, Pa. — Business is back almost booming in downtown Hazleton, quite a change after being a city hit hard by the coronavirus.

We spoke with some restaurant owners to see how their business is going.

The open signs are flipped on and doors are open again for many businesses and restaurants on Broad Street downtown.

Jimmy's Quick lunch, which has been around for over 80 years, was open, but only served take-out, after the pandemic hit. 

The restaurant known for its hotdogs now offers indoor dining and has made some changes to ensure its customer's safety.

Plexiglass has been installed, seating at every other booth has been implemented, and a wash, rinse and sanitize after every customer is now taking place.

Owner Jim Grohl said it feels good again to open his doors, but the business has been slow.

"It seems that people don't want to get out and about, but the takeout has still stayed up. At nights for supper were getting busy, lunch was getting busy so I guess one complements the other," said Grohl.

The county moved into the green phase on June 19, after being a hotspot for the coronavirus

It forced Hazleton officials to implement a curfew and the city set rules limiting gathering, which went beyond Governor Tom Wolf's restrictions.

But now, people we spoke with say moving into the green phase is progress for their community.

"It started feeling normal a week ago, and now with us being in green, it feels, I feel free," said Tisha Hetherington from Drums.

"It is a step in the right direction, as long as the virus isn't going to be coming back again as everyone says," said Drums resident Garland Jackson.

Unlike Jimmy's, the Poppy Press Coffee Company down the street just recently reopened at the beginning of June. 

Owner Tamara Hersberger said she had to change the way she's operating by removing seating and adding social distancing signs.

"It's starting to flow, people come in, my regulars are coming back. I have a lot of to-go orders, I don't deliver, I never really did, but I've been doing delivery because I'm not so packed in here, you know so it's exciting and I just look at it positive," Hersberger said.

Hazleton area officials are advising people to check business hours when going out to eat or shopping. 

Many places have changed to accommodate cleanings and are reopening slowly.

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