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WNY reaches important metrics for Phase One to reopen

“Western New York will open tomorrow"
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Posted at 7:18 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 19:18:34-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — “Western New York will open tomorrow, so that’s exciting,” declared Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo came to Buffalo Monday announcing Western New York will reopen Tuesday under Phase One.

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Governor Cuomo appearing at Roswell Park Monday to announce WNY reopen under Phase One.

“It’s been a long, painful period, but we start to reopen tomorrow,” Cuomo stated.

Governor Cuomo appeared at Roswell Park saying Western New York has reached the needed metrics to reopen.

Melissa DeRosa, a top aid to the governor, said the region has met the three day rolling average for hospitalizations and hospital deaths.

“In this instance, for Western New York, it's on that rolling average and the rolling average of the last three days — the hospitalizations is actually negative six, on the three day rolling average and the deaths is two,” DeRosa explained.

There are now more than 500 contract tracers hired and ready for training, one of the other metrics required for a reopen.

It is not a simple ‘flip of the switch' for businesses that can reopen, but it is a start to our new normal.

This is a list of the businesses that are allowed to reopen Tuesday:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail - Curbside Pickup
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting

For those businesses, like construction and curbside retail to reopen, they must fill out this information on the state's website and follow guidelines for keeping employees and customers safe.

But Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the plan does not need government approval.

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Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz & Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown talk about reopening.

“Every business that falls under phase one has to have a plan on day one, other wise they can't open. They do not have to file it with New York State, they do have to keep in on site,” Poloncarz said.

Poloncarz noted it is important for the plan to be in place to safe guard employees.

“I’m really hopeful I don’t get the calls to county government saying I work at x place, they don’t have a plan, but they’re making me come back because then we’re going to have to go out there and shut them down until they have a plan,” Poloncarz told reporters.

7 Eyewitness News asked the governor who will be the watchdog to make sure businesses are following the rules. He threw it back to local government.

“Enforcement is by local governments, public health people, some could use police,” responded Cuomo. “I have public health people who will be doing the enforcement — some localities use police to do the enforcement — that's up to the local governments, also I believe New Yorkers should enforce it.”

Both Poloncarz and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown say their administrations will enforce the rules.

Mayor Brown said the city just denied a minister, whom he would not name, from reopening his church for worship.

“We told that minister he would be arrested if he did in fact violate the law. We talked to him, talked him through it. It did not occur, but we are prepared to enforce the law,” Mayor Brown replied.

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Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz & Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown talk about reopening.

Houses of worship fall under the last Phase Four stage because they are considered under mass gatherings such as sports.

There is no indication when Phase Two will happen that would allow businesses like barber shops and hair salons to reopen, but the county executive says those business owners should begin right now on their plans because without it they will not be able to reopen when given the okay.