On the edge of a shut down? Region flirting with COVID ‘orange zone’ numbers


Salon owner: "If we all do what we're supposed to do, we can stay open."

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — For three days in a row this week, Monroe County’s yellow zone COVID-19 infection rate has been below 4%. But in the Rochester region, many have been looking at the yellow zone micro-cluster, anxious about a possible orange zone declaration next week. The seven-day rolling average already above 4%.

On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave no clear answers on color upgrades. “People ask me ‘when do we go to an orange zone?’ I have no crystal ball and I’m not in the prophecy business,” he says.

If an area goes into an orange zone, schools go remote, dining is outdoor/take out only, worship services get cut down, and non-essential businesses like gyms and salons shut their doors.

Dr. Michael Mendoza, the County Public Health Commissioner, has said in past interview sessions that gyms, barbershops, salons and schools are not super spreaders of coronavirus.

“If we all do what we’re supposed to do, we can stay open,” says Nicole Ilasi who owns Salon Miaou in Batavia and works at another in Pittsford. She says people not masking up, being socially distant and ignoring guidelines, actually hurts small businesses like hers.

“We can stay open, we can work. But if you’re going to have big parties and blame the government for shutting us down, I think the blame is in the wrong place,” she says.

Ilasi says she is totally on edge over a possible shut down. She doesn’t think she can afford to get through it again. Even with a vaccine possibly on the way soon, it could prove to be an uphill battle. 
“I’ve just been working trying to make as much money as I can to put away,” she says.

The governor Friday essentially saying the same thing as Ilasi. If you want to stay open, let’s work together to get the infection rate down. He’s asking all, in particular at Thanksgiving, to limit gatherings to no more than ten people. 

“It is a social season, it is the socialization that’s a problem. Socialization is human behavior and human behavior is what this is all about. So we’re on guard, but it depends on what we do. And again, with the micro-clusters, it depends on what that locality does,” he says.

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