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Western New York region approved to begin Phase Three of reopening today

Cuomo: Record number of COVID-19 tests performed in New York state; WNY infection rate at 1.5%
Posted at 11:54 AM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 01:04:11-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Western New York region, which includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties, has been approved to begin Phase Three of reopening on Tuesday.

The region has remained on schedule, gaining approval for each new phase two weeks after the previous phase. The Western New York region entered Phase One of the NY Forward program on May 19 and Phase Two on June 2.

Phase Three includes:

  • Restaurants/Food Services (limited occupancy indoor dining)
  • Personal Care (nail salons, tattoo shops, massage therapists)

"We put together a plan really it was about a month ago and we're just doing the final touches on the facility today to make sure everyone is 6 feet distance, the entire area is cleaned and sanitized, our staff's in masks, everything is clean and ready," said Matt Kahn, President and Co-Founder of Big Ditch Brewing in Downtown Buffalo.

You'll also be able to sit at the bar, as seats are distanced. Customers are expected to wear masks when walking around the restaurant, but not when seated at their tables.

Big Ditch Social Distancing
Big Ditch Implements Social Distancing Changes


Last week, the state released detailed guidelines for businesses reopening in Phase Three.

In addition, Governor Cuomo modified Phase Three guidance on social gatherings to allow up to 25 people.

"It may take a little longer to get a table, so just be patient with us, but we're excited to have you, again your safety is our most important thing, so we're going to do our best to take care of you," said Kahn.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul released the following statement:

As Regional Head of Western New York’s reopening, I'm proud that Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced our region is entering Phase 3 tomorrow. Indoor food services at restaurants and personal care businesses, like nail salons and spas, will be allowed to reopen providing a much-needed boost for many small business owners. Gatherings of up to 25 people will also be allowed. We've come a long way – and thanks to everyone's efforts, our region continues to responsibly reopen businesses and build back better than ever before.

However, we must remember that this is not a return to normal as this virus is still in our communities. Let's continue with best practices we know to reduce the spread of the virus. We cannot afford to lose our momentum like we are seeing in other states – it's important to continue wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, and practicing social distancing. Our actions will help keep New Yorkers healthy and safe, and move the region closer to Phase 4.

Throughout each phase, I have visited small businesses across Western New York . I have seen such a spirit of optimism and hope – our businesses are ready to take the necessary steps to keep their customers and workers safe. Now, it's on all of us – we must support them and make sure they have the resources they need to survive, and thrive.

I congratulate my fellow Western New Yorkers for successfully reducing the spread of COVID. I also thank the regional control room members for their hard work and dedication in making sure we follow the science and data as we reopen in a smart and safe manner.


-Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, (D) NY