New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has given the green light to three regions of the upstate area not as severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak to gradually re-start their economies. During his daily press briefing in Rochester Monday... Cuomo said the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, and Finger Lake regions could move to Phase-one on Friday after meeting all seven benchmarks for opening some business activity. However... he also announced regional "control" or monitoring teams will be put in place to oversee the efforts.
Cuomo says the local and county governments involved need to work out some logistical details by the end of the week. Some other areas are close behind. He says New York will reopen certain low-risk business and recreational activities state-wide on May 15th. Cuomo says those include landscaping and gardening, low-risk outdoor recreational activities -- like tennis -- and drive-in movie theaters.
The Western New York region is moving in the right direction in terms of the metrics being used to when it comes to reopening the economy. However... Chautauqua County will not be part of that. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is overseeing the efforts to reopen our region... which includes Erie County... where some of the highest numbers in the state are found.
Hochul says the key numbers will be daily infection and hospitalization rates... along with testing. She adds that each region will have a "control group" to oversee the reopening process. Hochul says she -- and several local leaders and health officials -- will be involved with that on a daily basis. She reiterated that it's important to her and Governor Cuomo to reopen the economy, but she emphasized that public health is still the number one priority.
There's one new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County over the past day. County Executive P-J Wendel says that brings the total number to 43. He says the new case is a woman in her 80s... and, he adds there are now seven active cases, who are recovering. Wendel says 32 people have now recovered. In addition... he says there are now 102 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... and, there have now been 1,358 negative test results to date.
Chautauqua County may not be part of the first phase of openings this coming Friday... but, city lawmakers in Jamestown are looking over some possible options to help restaurants and some other businesses open up more soon. That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... after there was word that at least a couple of restaurants are moving towards some outdoor business as the weather gets warmer. Sundquist says some may need council action first, others may not.
Sundquist says... with some limited hours... some patio or sidewalk serve could be done with no changes to the city code. However... others may need a local law to change the ordinance. Meantime... he says city departments are moving ahead on plans to reopen sometime later. Sundquist says Western New York so far meets five of the governor's seven metrics to go to Phase-one. He made his comments yesterday morning on WJTN's Dennis Webster Show.
Another major festival in Chautauqua County has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic and regional shut-down. The 15th annual Jamestown Regional Celtic Festival has been cancelled this year. The difficult decision was reached by the festival's committee... led by organizer Doug Clark of the 96th Highlanders Pipe and Drum Corp... late last week. Clark says the decision was made with the safety of competitors, musicians and spectators first and foremost.
The festival was to be held this coming August. Clark says most disappointing is the fact this was shaping up as their best festival yet. He says they were planning on having at least 80 male and female "heavy" athletes competing... and, a number of musical bands and groups performances.
A U-S Air Force flyover will take place early this afternoon to honor health care workers, first responders, and graduating seniors in Chautauqua County. County Executive P-J Wendel says the 914th Air Refueling Wing of the Air Force Reserves at Niagara Falls, and the Vermont National Guard will be conducting a required aerial refueling training operation. Following the training, KC-135s and F-35s will flyover portions of Western New York to salute frontline workers during the COVID Outbreak. Wendel says three of the F-35s will break away from formation and come into Chautauqua County for a flyover of Chautauqua Lake between 12:15 and 12:30 PM.