Reps Stefanik, Ritchie rip Gov. Cuomo over decision to halt phase 2 of reopening local economy
Two North Country politicians blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his last-minute decision to not allow the regional economy to re-open despite the area meeting the metrics for phase 2 of the plan.
“I have heard from hundreds of frustrated and upset local officials and small businesses who are understandably outraged by the unacceptable and arbitrary decision by Governor Cuomo to move the goal posts for re-opening,” said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. “Small businesses are barely hanging on and have invested in COVID-19 preparations to safely update their operations. Our North Country businesses and communities have worked hard to meet the metrics laid out for Phase 2 required by New York State and our region should enter Phase 2 of re-opening as planned.”Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, echoed Stefanik’s opinion.
“Small businesses set to reopen in Phase Two have spent endless hours in recent weeks readying to safely reopen. Up until tonight, they believed they’d be able to do so on Friday,” Ritchie said.
“Now though, at the 11th hour, the Governor has chosen to impose new reopening criteria that will prevent Central and Northern New York from moving on to Phase Two. This lack of communication isn’t just irresponsible—it’s disrespectful to hardworking business owners and the tremendous effort they have put forth to comply with state guidelines. These people have been through enough. So many of the businesses they have worked hard to build are hanging on by a thread. Many of these business owners and their employees have yet to see a dime of unemployment benefits from the New York State Department of Labor. To say they are frustrated would be an understatement. Our region has met the metrics to move on to the next phase. Businesses have worked tirelessly to implement safety measures to safely reopen tomorrow. To tell them tonight we aren’t moving on to Phase Two—just hours before they expected to reopen—is indefensible. Businesses cannot wait any longer and I support efforts for them to safely move on to the next phase, as promised. Furthermore, this underscores the need for the Legislature to take immediate action to restore its powers as a co-equal branch of state government,” Sen. Ritchie said.
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