Could a COVID uptick lead to restrictions on businesses

No zip code in WNY is a state focus area
Posted at 12:12 AM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 00:12:35-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County's 7-Day rolling average has been increasing daily for more than a week, according to New York State's COVID-19 dashboard.

The county's latest daily positivity rate is 4.9%, some zip codes have had recent rates of more than 6%.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said no zip codes in Erie County are in a focus area. New York's focus yellow, orange, and red focus zones have different restrictions put in place for an area.

“Again, none of these right now meet the criteria for yellow, orange, or red-zones; however, we are following this very very closely and working with our state partners to help them understand where’s the source of all these cases,” Burstein said.

Michael Crimi is the General Manager of Mac's on Hertel and said he's been keeping an eye on cases.

It definitely has an impact on business because it’s a luxury to go out to eat, and I think people don’t want to take the risk if they don’t have to,” Crimi said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has voiced concern over Western New York numbers several times over the past few months. In a press conference Wednesday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz did not rule out a shutdown similar to what occurred in March if case and hospitalization rates were high enough.

"I say the answer's yes, not that we want that, but yes," he said. "Look what's happening in Europe right now, basically shut down again for a whole month, in Great Britain and in France, and there two weeks to a month ahead of us."

Burstein noted that positvity rate alone does not determine whether an area becomes a colored focus zone. Below is part of the micro-cluster metrics from the governor's office.

"Geographic area has 7-day rolling average positivity above 2.5% for 10 days and Geographic area has 10 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on 7-day average."
Governor Cuomo micro-cluster metrics excerpt

After being closed for several months, business at Terrie's Workout Center is on the rise, according to personal trainer Micah Rose. He said another shutdown, however, would be detrimental to business. Currently the only gyms closed in New York are in the four orange and red-zones.

“It’s definitely nerve-racking it is," he said. "I don’t want the gym to close again, I don’t think anything wants the gym to to close again.”

Rose said the gym hasn't had any issues with customers adhering to safety guidelines.

Neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts put new restaurant restrictions in place this week. In New York, indoor dining is not allowed in the orange-zone, red-zones are take out only.

Crimi said the business could survive on take-out only, like it did in the early stages of the pandemic, but it would hurt the employees.

County officials are urging the public to wear masks, not hold large gatherings, and continue to social distance to help prevent cases from rising.