Schuyler County says they remain in phase one, will not stop phase two businesses from reopening

Local News

UPDATE: Governor Cuomo says the Southern Tier will move into phase two after indicating there may not be a change on Friday.

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SCHUYLER COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) – Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn tells 18 News that the county’s position is to stay in phase one but not prevent businesses that would reopen in phase two from safely reopening.

“Unfortunately at the eleventh hour, the Governor has decided that more information is needed before giving the go-ahead to move to phase two, we’re hoping that that date is at least announced today, but as of right now we remain in phase one.”

O’Hearn’s message contradicts what Steuben and Chemung Counties have each said, which is they will move onto phase two regardless of what the Governor’s plans are.

O’Hearn adds that communities such as Watkins Glen and Odessa who declared they would move forward do not have the authority to do so.

“To be clear this is driven by the state, not by any individual municipality, not by the county. This is a state directive and something we have to abide by… The Mayors of the respective villages don’t have the authority to make that decision.”

For businesses that planned to reopen on Friday, O’Hearn says that the county can not give them permission to reopen but they will not stop those businesses that were supposed to reopen from reopening.

“We are not going to give businesses permission to move to phase two, however we are not stopping them. We are not going to tell them they can’t move there. Ultimately it’s a decision that would need to be made by individual businesses and certainly in private consideration of licensing, regulatory environment, insurance, all of those issues.”

Businesses that received guidance on Friday include Barbershops/Hair salons; Commercial Buildings; Retail Rental, Repair, and Cleaning; Auto Dealerships/Rentals; Offices; General Retail (with restrictions); and Real Estate.

This is a developing story and 18 News will have more information as it becomes available.

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