Worry, joy, ambivalence, relief, dread: Pittsburgh-area residents describe the first days of life in ‘yellow’

Eight stories of what life was like during the first five days after the state began to allow some non-essential activities in Allegheny County.

by Oliver Morrison

When Kards Unlimited opened its doors last Friday in Shadyside, Amanda Blair was nervous.

It was the first day that Allegheny County had moved from phase red, which required everyone to adhere to a strict “stay at home” order, to phase yellow. Now some nonessential activities and businesses could open — including the card store where Blair works.

The number of coronavirus cases had fallen over time during phase red but there were still dozens of new cases in the county each week. It was unclear how many people would risk venturing out into public and whether those that did would adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Blair had put up signs at the door, instructing customers to wear masks. For good measure, she taped up several masks near the entrance. There were arrows on the ground pointing out where to walk and Xs every six feet to provide separation. She worried customers would put up a fight.

But 30 minutes after the 9:30 a.m. opening, still no one had entered.

Blair has been working at the store on Walnut Street for almost 15 years. She had been planning to take over the store from the owner this year. But that’s been pushed back due to loss of revenue during the shutdown, Blair said. Now she likely wouldn’t be able to take over until sometime next year.

It was almost 10:30 a.m., and still no customers.

Blair would’ve felt more nervous about returning to work, if she and her husband, Jason, hadn’t already recovered from COVID-19. Just before the store closed in March, Blair rushed home after Jason told her he was running a 105 degree fever. His doctor told them to try another thermometer.

FEATURED IMAGE: Attallah Moore didn’t make plans to see any friends this past week because she said she is already nervous just going to the store. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

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Worry, joy, ambivalence, relief, dread: Pittsburgh-area residents describe the first days of life in ‘yellow’

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