Phase Two reopening plans delayed, Chemung County will move forward regardless of governor’s approval

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Regional and county leaders in Upstate New York appear to be uncertain about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s revised reopening regulations.

Late Thursday night, officials with Tompkins County said they’ve postponed Phase Two reopening plans that were set for Friday. They are not alone, Mohawk Valley region also postponed its Phase Two reopening plans.

“Thursday evening New York State officials announced that phase two of reopening is being delayed to allow for additional review of data related to COVID-19,” according to a released from Tompkins County. It went on to say, “There was no further information on what additional data is being reviewed by the State. State officials expressed that the Governor has asked public health experts to review state-wide data.”

“We’re proceeding as planned in Chemung County with phase 2 starting tomorrow.”

~ Chris Moss, Chemung County Executive

Tompkins County is part of the Southern Tier region slated to enter phase two on Friday. Late Thursday night Chemung County Executive Chris Moss said, “We’re proceeding as planned in Chemung County with phase 2 starting tomorrow.  I’m advised Onondaga, Madison and other counties who have completed 14 days will be starting tomorrow as well.”

The Chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors John Becker tells WSYR-TV he will also allow Madison County to enter Phase Two regardless of the governor’s approval. He will allow all Phase Two-designated businesses to resume operations as if the state allowed it, including offices, retail stores, and hair salons. As the state would, Becker expects each business to have a written safety plan that ensures social distancing and masks or mouth coverings. Becker’s decision comes despite the last-minute confusion on whether the state will allow Phase Two businesses to reopen Friday, as widely expected.

We are waiting to hear from officials from Steuben and Schuyler, along with other local counties to see if they will follow suit.

“The governor just keeps moving the goal post on our state in opening back up. The recent revelation that he intends to require the data of each region to be reviewed by a panel of international experts before it can be approved for Phase 2 is stunning news to many of us. I have been in constant contact with those on our regional team and they have expressed that this information has not been shared with them. In fact, they were told that the Southern Tier would be ready to go Friday and that our numbers remained on synch.

“Our communities, local officials, health professionals and businesses have been working very hard to get the Southern Tier ready to open and our cases have been negligible. This new layer of requirements is another example of the governor gleefully overstepping and shows his complete lack of trust in our local efforts. His distrust of our communities is disappointing.”

Statement from Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats) on new revelations from governor’s approval panel for Phase 2

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