ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy gave an update on Tuesday regarding his role on reopening the area.
“My job is simply to ask questions, listen and be able to pass on information for the governor’s team and their decision on reopening,” Duffy said.
Duffy was appointed last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as volunteer special advisor to coordinate the Finger Lakes region’s COVID-19 public health response and reopening strategy.
Duffy said he’s meeting with heath officials around the area and getting their input on what they feel would be necessary for a safe reopening of the area.
“People are frustrated let alone business, they want to get reopen but they want to reopen safely and there’s a lot of questions how to do that, how best to do it,”said Duffy.
Cuomo said that the state will start to unpause on May 15, beginning with construction and manufacturing workers.
Duffy said he can’t predict when other businesses will be able to reopen, but encouraged business owners to have a plan in place to make the reopen process safe for employees and customers.
“Always be proactive. don’t wait, don’t wait for somebody to say if we’ll reopen. if you have a plan then your delayed by two or four weeks. I’d be working on that right now and paramount has to be the safety of employees and safety of customers,” said Duffy.
“I would work on having a plan in place when that decision comes, whether that’s two weeks, four weeks or six weeks, I can’t speak to that. But as we constantly talk about our face masks, hand wash social distancing — be proactive.”
He cautions however that the state will make the decision to reopen other non-essential business based on health data after 2 weeks from may 15.
Even when companies are given the green light, they should look at what remote working they can still do.
“Even as business reopen, i think we reduce the infect rate, we reduce the proximity we have with people and the concerns they have by keeping these remote work places going,” said Duffy.
Duffy said that at the Chamber of Commerce, there are about 150 employees and once the state is unpaused, he intends to only keep 10 to 20% on site and rest will continue to work remotely.
In a News 8 special on Friday, Duffy answered the questions our community submitted about this pandemic; what it will take to reopen, how long can the shutdown last, and more.