Phase two in Rochester & Finger Lakes: What that means and what comes next

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Governor Cuomo has given the green light for the Finger Lakes region to enter Phase Two of reopening. After some confusion over the issue on Thursday night, he explained his delayed decision in his daily briefing Friday afternoon.

“I may be competent but I am not expert on global transmissions of a viral pandemic so I wanted to make sure we had the best minds look at all the data before we stepped forward,” Cuomo said.

Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Bob Duffy said he understands the frustration surrounding the anticipating of the announcement but also understands why the governor waited until Friday.

“I have said repeatedly for the last couple of weeks or more, the governor’s always said that it’s going to be at least two weeks in between phases. I also reinforce it, his words, ‘at least’,” Duffy said.

Duffy said he couldn’t be happier to be in Phase Two and said our region’s data looks very good. He said the Finger Lakes region was the first to be called today by the governor’s office and given the thumbs-up to begin Phase Two.

Included in the reopening:

  • Offices
  • Real estate
  • Essential and Phase Two in-store retail
  • Vehicle sales, leases, and rentals
  • Retail rental, repair, and cleaning
  • Commercial building management
  • Hair salons and barber shops

Livingston County administrator, Ian Coyle, said he’s excited for business owners.

“It’s good news, it’s very much well received from the residents especially the businesses in those sectors that are just screaming to reopen and doing their best as far as the new normals and adapting,” Coyle said.

Some of the new rules include 50 percent occupancy, no meetings without social distancing, and required face masks in all retail stores.

Specific to hair salons and barber shops, hair cuts are by appointment only, hair stylists must get tested every two weeks, and other services such as massages, nail services, and facials are still prohibited.

Duffy said we need to proceed with caution.

“The governor’s team is already preparing for Phase Three. I think we’re on a roll right now. We just have to stay on course. We all want to be open, but to be open safely.”

While restaurants aren’t included in Phase Two, the governor said they are still looking at guidelines for outdoor dining. He said the decision could differ from region to region and depending how much space a restaurant has outside. The Greece town supervisor announced earlier this week that restaurants there could apply for outdoor seating licenses.

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