"Olean's looking good," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul told Mayor William J. Aiello after they greeted each other in front of Christie's Boutique on North Union Street.
Hochul mentioned a bit of traffic on her way in and recalled entering downtown Olean on North Union sometime in 2014 when the road was being reconstructed with traffic circles.
The mayor had a recollection too. He told Hochul of attending a conference in the eastern part of New York and listening to conference attendees complain about bridge traffic. So he added he had been stuck in an Olean traffic jam for three minutes. The group was a bit flummoxed by his story, he added.
Hochul's first stop during her trip to downtown Olean was the boutique, where she made a few purchases. As owner Christie Brook bagged them, Aiello told Hochul that opening the boutique had been a “real leap of faith” for Christie and Scott Brook.
Next stop was Armond’s Fashions for Men, and Hochul and Aiello posed for pictures with store owner Craig DiCola and the mannequin that stands curbside.
The group crossed the street and went to the Beef ‘N Barrel, where Hochul recalled dining in a booth some years earlier.
Last stop on North Union was the Paper Factory. And then Hochul returned to her vehicle for a ride to the Cuba Cheese Shoppe on Genesee Street in the Village of Cuba.
A TAPinto Greater Olean reporter asked Hochul why she had traveled to Olean and Cuba. She responded,
“I wanted to come out and thank business owners during this dark time and find out how they’re doing. (I’m) here to welcome them back, those who’ve shut down, and to tell them we’re here to support them through these tough times.”
Hochul also commented on her trip to Olean.
“I walked to visit many of the downtown businesses, and they’re thriving,” she said. “There was a traffic jam. A lot of people have started to come out to revisit a lot of the shops that closed up and to really start bringing vitality back to our downtown.”
Because Hochul is a Western New Yorker, she is happy to take on the task of “helping manage the reopening of upstate New York.”
Hochul added, “I usually travel around the state all the time, not being able to be at home. So, for me, personally, it’s been really nice to stay back in Western New York. It’s been good.”
She also has a positive feel about the state’s reopening process.
“You can see the evidence on how we did this, compared to other states. Compared to other states, we’re in a much better place because of the way we did the phases. We’ll be able to keep it going without having any set-backs.”
And no, she would not change anything about what the state has done in the reopening process.
“We followed federal guidelines,” she said. “So, we’ve been consulting with experts from the very beginning: medical experts, epidemiologists and statisticians, to know how it spreads.
“We’ve been really smart about it, so there’s nothing to change. This has never been done before but this is what other states should be doing.”
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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