Orleans, Finger Lakes on track for Phase 4 reopening on Friday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 June 2020 at 3:20 pm

Governor holds off on allowing movie theaters, casinos, gyms and malls

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that five regions of the state, including the Finger Lakes, will likely reopen to Phase 4 on Friday because of their positive Covid-19 rates of infection and hospitalizations. Orleans County is one of nine counties considered by the state to be in the Finger Lakes Region.

The governor, however, said some businesses that were expected to reopen in Phase 4 won’t initially. That includes gyms, casinos, movie theaters and malls, which the governor said are at high risk of spreading Covid-19.

“There is new information that come out on this virus everyday,” Cuomo said about holding back some businesses and activities from Phase 4.

The state will be allowing the following in Phase 4:

  • Low-risk, outdoor arts and entertainment, including zoos and botanical gardens at 33 percent capacity.
  • Low-risk, indoor arts and entertainment, including museums and aquariums at 25 percent capacity.
  • Film and movie production, higher education and professional sports without fans.

State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, was critical of Cuomo excluding some businesses that were expecting to be in Phase 4.

“Once again, the governor arbitrarily decided which businesses in our state will be allowed to succeed and fail,” Ortt said. “Instead of allowing hardworking small-business owners to reopen and recoup some of the devastating revenue lost due to COVID, New York has actively stood in their way and pushed them closer to the brink of collapse. There’s no rational reason to allow Hollywood corporations to resume operations while telling mom and pop stores to stand down.”

The governor also announced today that Phase 4 will include increasing the capacity of churches from 25 percent to 33 percent. Cuomo also is increasing the maximum size for social gatherings from 25 to 50 people.

The five regions that are expected to enter Phase 4 on Friday include the Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier.

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