The second phase of reopening business in the Southern Tier could come earlier than had originally been outlined by New York State when the plans were being laid to recover the economy from the coronavirus shutdown. 

Bob Joseph/WNBF News (file)
Bob Joseph/WNBF News (file)

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he sees regions, like the Southern Tier that begins a partial reopening on May 15, being able to move forward with the next phase of businesses if rates of infection, hospitalization and deaths do not go up even as the first phase is implemented.

The Governor held his daily coronavirus briefing May 12 at the Binghamton University Pharmacy School in Johnson City as the Southern Tier is one of three regions in the state cleared to enter into Phase One of reopening.

The original guidelines had the regions waiting for the full 14-day-period of a person being infected, exhibiting symptoms and being tested to run the course and charting the number of resulting infections before determining whether there was an actual outbreak going on. That would dictate whether the “valve” needed to be closed or the next phase could proceed.

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar says leaders in the eight county Southern Tier Region will be keeping close tabs on the benchmarks set by the state and the Centers for Disease Control as more construction and manufacturing is brought back on line.  Garnar says the regional leaders may look at things like backing off the number of workers allowed on site and additional sanitation procedures should any of the indicator numbers like rates of infection start to go up in order to stop any increase before it goes so far as to warrant shutting down again.

Garnar, meanwhile, is looking ahead to the next phase that includes professional services and has indicated he would like to see hair salons and barbershops potentially included in that group.

THEN AND NOW: See the Evolution of the Southern Tier

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