The Wyoming County Recycling Center will resume operations with restrictions next week.
The county commissioners adopted a plan during their virtual meeting on Tuesday, which they formulated with Recycling Coordinator Mike Rogers.
Starting Tuesday, May 26 at 7 a.m., the center will reopen on a limited schedule. County residents can drop off recyclables Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
However, if the center reaches capacity before 3 p.m., new materials won’t be accepted again until the next open day.
Commissioner Rick Wilbur encouraged people to call 570-836-0729 beforehand to make sure the center hasn’t reached capacity.
New materials will be segregated for three days to allow for any traces of COVID-19 to die off before sorting.
Weekend drop offs won’t be reconsidered until the recycling center can get caught up.
Anyone visiting the recycling center must wear a mask and practice social distancing. There’s a five bag per week minimum, and as usual, all materials must be clean and dry. A list of accepted materials is available online at wycopa.org.
Though they cannot control it, the commissioners ask that residents only bring recyclables that have been sitting untouched for a minimum of five days to lessen the chances of spreading COVID-19.
The closure of the recycling center came out of concern for its employees, who sort everything by hand.
Anyone caught leaving materials outside of these hours can expect to be prosecuted, Wilbur said.
The commissioners expect the center to be overwhelmed for at least the first two weeks, so they ask everyone to be patient.
Some municipalities in the county have recycling trailers for their residents, which get emptied at the center. Wilbur said it’s up to their leaders to resume these services, but he hopes they hold off for now to give the center an opportunity to catch up.
The commissioners also discussed Wyoming County’s move to the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to reopen Pennsylvania.
“It’s a step is what it is,” Wilbur said. “It’s not an end. We still have a long way to go.”
They agreed that staying the course with guidelines from the state is going to be the quickest way for Wyoming County to move into the green phase.
“I just want to encourage everyone to follow the guidelines,” said Commissioner Ernie King. “All of us want to get to green, but the best way to do that is to be cooperative and patient.”
Rep. Karen Boback has put together a task force of community leaders to help Wyoming County move to green, Wilbur said. It consists of Boback, Sen. Lisa Baker, all three county commissioners, Tyler Memorial Hospital CEO Ann Marie Stevens, EMA Director Gene Dziak, Director of Human Services Mike Donahue, Tunkhannock Area Superintendent Heather McPherson, Lackawanna Trail Superintendent Matthew Rakauskas, District Attorney Jeff Mitchell and Wyoming County Chamber President Gina Suydam.
During the meeting, Dziak told the commissioners that local COVID-19 cases have fluctuated because the Pennsylvania Department of Health registered three individuals in long-term care at nursing homes in outside counties as Wyoming County residents.
The county’s supply of masks has been running “a little short,” but Procter & Gamble plans to help replenish them today, Dziak said. He commended P&G, as well as the state Department of Health for working hard during the pandemic.
The commissioners also said that Wyoming County Adult Probation and Parole received satisfactory results on its most recent audit.
They also reminded county residents to respond to the 2020 U.S. Census if they haven’t already, as some municipalities still have low self-response rates.
“We have some good ones, we have some bad ones, we just have to get more cooperation,” Wilbur said.