With only a couple days to go before the expected move to the next phase of reopening business following the pandemic shut-down, local officials like Broome County Executive Jason Garnar say they are still waiting for word from the state that it’s a “go.”

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Garnar says regions have been asking Governor Andrew Cuomo for a little advance notice when the status of things like business openings will move ahead to allow facilities to assemble and prepare staff.  So far, Garnar says, that still has not happened.

The County Executive says over 500 businesses participated in online conferences with his office a couple weeks ago during which they were told to start preparing their strategies for reopening to submit to the state well in advance of the upcoming reopening stages.

Monkey Business

Phase two, which is expected to be given the green light to go ahead in the Southern Tier Region on May 29 will include the limited reopening of administrative services, hair salons, professional services, retail, real estate and finance and insurance.  Some dentist offices have also been contacting patients informing them they will be opening for non-emergency care by June 1 in the region.

In order to move to the next reopening phase, regions must meet the seven metrics set by the state including number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, amount of testing, contact tracing, decline in deaths and hospital capacity.  Garnar says even with an increase in positive test results due to a big jump in the testing rate, the county and region remain well below the metric for rate of infection and hospitalization.