Steuben County Legislature Chairman unhappy with NYS Phase One reopening plan


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BATH, N.Y. (WETM) – The Steuben County Legislature Chairman is voicing concern regarding “the mixed signals” coming from the state regarding the COVID-19 Phase 1 Reopening now set for May 15.

“We are deeply concerned about the reopening phases, the lack of communication from the state and the lack of logic in some of their decisions,” said County Legislature Chairman Scott R. VanEtten, R-Caton. “Our local leaders, specifically County Manager Jack Wheeler and county Public Health Director Darlene Smith are working hard to lead us through this crisis and they are doing a great job.”

“But as a county, we must comply with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders and resulting
regulations – and they can change from day to day and even hour to hour. It’s nuts.”

Retails stores can reopen Friday with curbside pickup only options, something Chairman VanEtten says gives an unfair advantage to large chain stores.

“So all those retails stores and businesses have to develop a plan and then reopen with curbside service and no customers can enter the shop,” VanEtten said. “So if you want to buy sneakers at a shoe store, you have to point to the ones you want to buy and the clerk has to bring them out for you to try on? Or you want to buy a laptop at an electronics shop but you can’t go in to compare the models? Meanwhile, Walmart has been selling shoes and everything else to customers in their stores since this whole closure started.”

The Chairman also voiced concern regarding the Department of Motor Vehicles remaining closed while dealerships have reopened.

“Keeping our DMVs closed, except for dealers sales doesn’t make sense to the people on our Legislature and we’re hearing that same thing very loudly from our constituents,” VanEtten said.

“The U.S. Post Office has remained open for two months and those front-line postal clerks do the same kind of work DMV clerks do, behind plastic screens and distance decals. We want our DMV clerks to give that same service the post offices do and we will be glad to install same safeguards. It’s that simple.”

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