The Western New York Region -- including Chautauqua County -- can now officially move to Phase-Two of the COVID-19 reopening today. That from Governor Andrew Cuomo who made the announcement during his daily briefing held in Albany. Cuomo adds that the Capital District -- including Albany -- should follow tomorrow. Phase-Two allows for some professional office, additional retail, and barbers and hair stylists to reopen. Cuomo also says that some Summer camps can open later this month.
Cuomo spent a lot of time during his daily briefing talking about the protests that became violent in New York City. He says it's not just African-Americans who are upset about the killing of George Floyd... but, white Americans as well. Cuomo also reminded the protestors that the pandemic has not ended... but, he says "be responsible" because there is fear there may be a new spike in COVID cases. In speaking about the violence... Cuomo says the vast majority of protestors are peaceful and they are separate and distinct from the criminals.
There is one new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County today... bringing the total to 88 since the pandemic began. However... the number of "negative cases" continues to climb. That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new case is a man in his 80s. Wendel adds that there are now 15 active cases... and those people continue to recover under public health law. Two people are hospitalized with COVID-19... while 69 have now recovered. Wendel says there have been 3,359 negative test results so far.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he plans to take part in a peaceful protest later this week in Elmira to condemn the police-involved death of George Floyd. During an appearance at a store in Gerry yesterday, Reed said he understands that people are upset... but, he also condemned those who have taken over those protests at night... and, have been rioting and looting businesses. Reed says... while there are "bad actors..." he fully stands with law enforcement.
Reed says -- as an elected official -- justice needs to be served after a police officer pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee for about nine-minutes during an May 25th incident in Minnesota. President Donald Trump again threatened to invoke federal "Insurrection Act" Tuesday to allow the military to deal with the rioting and looting in several major cities the past week. Reed says he hopes cooler heads prevail before that's needed. He's hoping that all people and law enforcement can come together, and drive solutions to eliminate such incidents.
Chautauqua County's Congressman is co-sponsoring federal legislation that would reward front-line workers across the nation who risked going to work to keep essential services in place during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Using the Country Fair convenience store at the four-corners in Gerry as the backdrop... Corning Republican Tom Reed announced that he and one other Republican and two Democrats, have introduced the Rewarding American Workers Act of 2020.
Reed says the Rewarding workers legislation would be part of a likely fourth, COVID-19 Stimulus package in Congress. He says businesses would be advanced a tax credit to provide a bonus of about 30-percent of wages to workers employed during the national shut-down. Reed says higher earners -- from $55,000-90,000 -- would receive that $600 bonus. He says the legislation would use existing IRS and Treasury authorities because "it's the quickest way to ensure workers get financial relief."
Jamestown High School will hold an "alternative" graduation program for the Class of 2020 due to the on-going shut-down from the COVID-19 pandemic. Final details are still being worked out... but, the program will be held at Strider Field -- near Jefferson Middle School -- on Thursday night, June 25th. JHS Principal Dana Williams says they plan to have the 305 graduates, in their caps and gowns, enter one at a time -- with loved ones -- at each of the field's main gates.
Jamestown typically holds it's graduation ceremonies at the Chautauqua Amphitheater. Williams says graduation activities will actually begin the night of Wednesday, June 24th... with on-line addresses by class leaders. He says the ceremony would adhere to safety requirements... including limits on gatherings of no more than 10 people. He says that may be altered depending on what New York state and it's Education Department will allow at that time. Rain date for graduation will be the following night, Friday, June 26th.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has imposed a citywide 8 PM curfew for the rest of the week after a New York State Police trooper suffered a broken leg and a shattered pelvis when an SUV barreled through a group of officers. The officers had just charged people protesting George Floyd's death. Another trooper and a Buffalo police officer were treated for minor injuries after being struck by the Ford Explorer when it broke through a blockade at about 10 PM Monday and then sped away as troopers opened fire. The driver and a passenger had non-life threatening gunshot wounds when they were apprehended.