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Didn’t See This Coming, Cuomo Pauses Phase 2 Openings, Snubs County Officials

Instead of directly telling county leaders across the state that the long-awaited Phase 2 reopening scheduled for today has been put on pause, Gov. Andrew Cuomo went on the radio yesterday and surprised everyone with the announcement that the eight-county Southern Tier region that includes Tioga, Broome and Chemung counties, and the other regions in New York State that were preparing for additional openings today, will not be allowed to reopen. Instead, Cuomo wants international experts to review each region’s metrics before moving into Phase 2. 

The reaction among local leaders was pointed. Why wait to the very last minute on the afternoon before the day when hair salons and barber shops, among other businesses, were scheduled to reopen?

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar sent out a news release that read: “This is absolutely frustrating.” 

Senator Fred Akshar likewise issued a news release: “The Governor moving the goalposts on a whim at the very last minute while offering no direction or communication to local governments is absurd, ridiculous and unacceptable.”

Assemblyman Christopher Friend said: “I have been in constant contact with those on our regional team and they have expressed that this information has not been shared with them.” 

Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss told businesses in his county to go ahead and reopen. Moss said the governor can go on the radio with the announcement but cannot contact local leaders directly about the decision.

LISTEN TO CHRISTOPHER MOSS

 

Moss told Cuomo to drive to Elmira and shut down the businesses himself.  

At his daily brief yesterday, Cuomo gave no hint of the reversal. In fact, he actually clarified a long-running question about who enforces wearing of masks in public businesses … the owners and operators do. 

LISTEN TO GOV. ANDREW CUOMO

The latest COVID-19 numbers from the eight counties in the Southern Tier region remain some of the lowest in New York state. Since mid-March, Tompkins County has reported 156 confirmed cases with 130 recoveries. Tioga County’s health department has tracked 136 positive tests with 76 recoveries and 21 deaths, but only one was among the general population, the others were connected to a nursing home. Broome County is up to a cumulative total of 538 confirmed cases, 355 recoveries and 45 deaths. Chemung County’s total positive cases are 110 with 105 recoveries.  

Downstate … 33,000 cases in Westchester County, over 13,000 in Rockland County and 40,000 in Nassau County.