Southern Tier “set for phase four on Friday;” malls, theaters, gyms not included

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(WETM) – Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss tells 18 News that “absent any irregularities we’ll be set for phase 4 (of reopening) on Friday,” but that businesses such as gyms, movie theaters, malls, and amusement parks will not be allowed to reopen.

Museums and aquariums are expected to be a part of the new phase, according to Moss.

The Southern Tier and Finger Lakes were among the first regions to enter the reopening processes and stand to be in the same class going into phase four.

Phase four of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reopening plan covers guidance for arts, entertainment, recreation, and education. Social distancing and mask use is still expected for all residents.

Additional guidelines for businesses are expected to be released prior to Friday.

However, just because education is a part of phase four does not mean that schools are going to automatically reopen. Governor Cuomo has issued guidance for higher education systems and school districts to come up with their own reopening plans for the fall.

New York has already released guidance for sports and recreation in phase four, with everything from batting cages to wrestling.

Businesses that have already reopened with guidance from the Governor in earlier phases include restaurants, bars, offices, and retail.

Currently, every region except New York City stands in phase three of reopening.

COVID-19 numbers in the Southern Tier remain among the lowest in the state, according to the regional dashboard.

The Southern Tier is averaging 0.68 new cases per 100K people on a 7-day rolling average. The Finger Lakes is averaging 2.2 new cases per 100K people on a 7-day rolling average, well below the state-wide average of 3.30.

Only 0.2 percent of tests in the Southern Tier and 0.8 percent in the Finger Lakes have come back as positive, both below the state average of 1.0 percent (on a 7-day rolling average).

Both regions have at least half of their ICU beds available as well.

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