Chris Moss outlines “smart start” to reopening the Southern Tier

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – “It looks like Friday will be our day in the Southern Tier.”

Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss, who is leading the Southern Tier’s reopening plan, outlined part of a “smart start” plan to reopen with the neighboring counties in the region on May 15.

The Southern Tier region consists of Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, Tioga, Tompkins, Broome, Delaware, and Chenango Counties.

The reopening process is in four phases broken down by types of business, starting with those who can safely social distance.

According to the governor’s plan, “regions must experience a 14-day decline i the hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average. Regions with few COVID cases cannot exceed 15 new total cases of 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average. A region must have fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per100,000 residents per day.”

This means if there is an outbreak in Steuben County it can affect businesses as far as Broome County

Moss says that county leaders are also monitoring the Northern Tier in Pennsylvania where five counties have reached Pennsylvania’s “yellow” reopening phase. During a trip to Bradford County over the weekend Moss said he saw many people without masks and more businesses open.

The Southern Tier region will monitor the Northern Tier to ensure a potential outbreak in Pennsylvania doesn’t carry across the border.

Moss stressed to local businesses to start their reopening plans and laid out what those plans should look like. Those plans should be posted in local businesses and a long-form copy should be available if the health department or law enforcement comes to check on the business.

Moss repeatedly stressed to residents across the Southern Tier that everybody has to use common sense when it comes to gatherings because one outbreak can shutdown the entire region.

Already Chemung County has seen a $1 million sales tax revenue drop from last year, according to Moss. Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn told 18 News that the county projects to lose anywhere from $1.3 to $3.6 million in sales tax revenue this year.

He also added that Chemung County doesn’t have the resources to break up gatherings such as BBQs/birthday parties or follow-up on every non-mask wearer.

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