Five of New York's regions have been cleared for Phase 2 reopening. The Western New York Region, which includes Allegany and Cattaraugus counties, is not among them.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made the announcement Friday at Iona College in New Rochelle, where he delivered his daily coronavirus briefing.
"The reason we are so rigorous about this is because many states and countries have reopened, and they made mistakes," Cuomo said. "Yes, everybody wants to open tomorrow. I wanted to open before we ever closed. But you have to be smart, and we have seen what has happened, painfully, when cities and states and countries reopen too quickly. They wound up closing again, which is the worst situation, so be smart."
The five regions cleared for Phase 2 reopening are the Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier regions.
Cuomo said the state relies on data and consultations with government officials and global experts.
"We have more data than almost any other place on the globe because of our testing, and we have had it reviewed at every level," he said. "All the local officials sign off, the regional officials sign off, the best state experts, and then we go to global experts who have done this in countries around the world, who frankly have more experience than we do because they've been through this, the crisis and the closing and the opening and the closing again. And we review all the data with them."
Phase 2 allows office-based workers, real estate services, in-store retail shopping and some barbershop services to resume. Each industry is subject to specific state guidelines to maximize safety and social distancing.
"There are specific guidance on how to reopen in Phase 2," Cuomo said. "It's not just: Open the doors and everybody has a party. It's 50 percent occupancy in office buildings, signage on markers, et cetera, no meetings without social distancing, don't share food or beverages."
Details about Phase 2 are available on the state’s New York Forward page.
"Remember that reopening does not mean that we're going back to the way things were," Cuomo said. "Life is not about going back. Nobody goes back. We go forward. And it's going to be different. This is about reopening to a new normal — a safer normal. People will be wearing masks and people will be socially distanced — it's a new way of interacting, which is what we have to do. Wear a mask, get tested and socially distance."
For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.
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