Rochester and the Finger Lakes region are now officially in Phase 2 of New York State's reopening plan.
The announcement came on Friday after Governor Andrew Cuomo said the data was reviewed by county, regional, state and global experts.
What You Need To Know
- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Finger Lakes region may reopen as a part of Phase 2
- Businesses like in-store retail, office jobs, and motor vehicle services are included
- Guidelines for businesses, employees and customers have been put in place
- Outdoor seating at restaurants is not included, something that's drawn debate at the local and state level
"I feel confident that we can rely on this data and the five regions that had been in Phase 1 can now move to Phase 2," said Cuomo.
That includes the Rochester Finger Lakes region — news thousands of business owners and patrons have been waiting for.
Phase 2 includes all office-based jobs, real estate services, in-store retail shopping, motor vehicle services, and on a limited basis, barbershops and hair salons.
There are state guidelines and restrictions in place for each of these industries to follow in order to keep the businesses' employees and patrons safe.
"It's all about how we act, it comes down to that, how the employee acts, how the store owner acts, how the employee acts, how the individual acts, how the local government acts," said Cuomo.
Not on the list: restaurants opening for outdoor patio seating, something Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich had hoped for in his effort to help the restaurants and bars in his town stay afloat.
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy is also weighing in. He is Governor Cuomo's reopening liaison for our region.
"We're on the same page, we really are," Duffy said. "We're in no disagreement. It's just there's a process they have to go through to make this evaluation."
But Cuomo and his team were asked about this.
"We're looking at that so we're still looking at the guidance. Some areas have opened up outdoor dining in advance of indoor dining, so we're still looking at those guidelines. We haven't decided yet, but there's a possibility that you could separate outdoor dining," said Robert Mujica, New York director of Budget.
But those businesses that are on the Phase 2 list are now able to unlock their doors.
"And it's going to be different, it is reopening to a new normal," said Cuomo.