Broome County Executive Jason Garnar says there is absolutely no doubt the Southern Tier Region will be ready for the first phase of reopening after the coronavirus shutdown in time for the Governor’s May 15 target. 

Garnar says the county executives and staff in the eight counties are meeting daily to meet all the criteria regarding testing, tracking and ensuring safety in order to get construction and manufacturing running again.  The County Executive points out the Southern Tier region has one of the lowest infection rates in the state because of the action taken by officials and residents to flatten the curve and slow coronavirus infections.

Still, Garnar says, what businesses will be allowed to reopen and when will be entirely up to the state.

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The Democrat strongly suggests businesses start making their plans now dealing with how they want to safely reopen.  He says those strategies  need to include everything from how they plan to deal with the public to personal protection equipment for staff and customers, the usage of space and physical distancing and possibilities that have been opened up by technology and working from remote locations.

The first phase of reopening, according to the Governor, will be essential manufacturing and some construction activities.  Following phases will work in more retail, food vendors and restaurants then other services and shops like hair salons and finally, low on the list, attractions that could draw people from outside a region or the entire state. 

The local governments and states will evaluate the rate of infection as each phase is initiated and be prepared to halt the opening should cases start to spike.