Phase Two Okayed Amid Confusion


NEW YORK -- Five New York regions in the phase one stage of the reopening were cleared to move to phase two on Friday afternoon. But the messaging caused a lot of confusion in regions which expected to open Friday morning.

Delaware County officials, along with officials of many regions, were issuing press releases critical of the delay after Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a radio interview Thursday, unexpectedly announced the state was now consulting with global health experts before moving ahead with phase two.

But in his daily press conference Friday, he said those global consultants had agreed that it was safe to proceed, and five upstate regions, including the Southern Tier, are cleared to move to phase two on Friday, four hours after they'd expected to reopen.

Local officials then withdrew their comments. But Delaware County Planning Director Shelly Bennett, in an email, said she felt the confusion was “newsworthy.”

We were told at 7:30 last night it could be Saturday or next week, the staff didn’t know and we would have to wait for the Governors response. I certainly understand the need for the additional review, but the late notice of this additional review was unfair to the local leaders that are trying answer businesses questions.”

Bennett, during this week's Board of Superintendents meeting, described local virus numbers and mandatory quarantines as being in an “upslide.” She expressed concern that the Memorial Day holiday might result in even more cases.

The state's NYForward website has detailed instructions on reopening, and phase two now includes salons and barbers, so long as they follow state guidelines and also have stylists checked for the COVID-19 virus every two weeks. The state also recommends they get tested before resuming business.

Restaurants are not authorized to resume on-site dining during phase two. They will be part of a phase three reopening.

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