Sen. Ritchie asking Gov. Cuomo to include St. Lawrence County in 'Phase Two' of state's re-opening plan
State Sen. Patty Ritchie, who represents the St. Lawrence County region in the Assembly, is asking the governor to allow the region to move to "Phase Two" of the state's re-opening strategy on May 15.
In a letter to the governor, Ritchie points out that the region has continued to see a low level of infection rates and a minimal level of community spread."We credit this largely to our residents, who have taken this pandemic seriously," writes Ritchie. "They have risen to the challenge; working hard to adhere to stringent social distancing practices and taking precautionary actions such as wearing masks and avoiding congregate settings. Further, our hospitals, which have low-occupancy rates and very few hospitalized COVID-19 cases, have continued to be well-positioned to respond to any outbreaks. We are confident that moving forward, these practices will continue."
Ritchie said that in recent weeks, many of her constituents have reached out to convey the "tremendous struggles" they are facing.
"We have heard from countless small business owners, whose livelihoods have been decimated. Hundreds, if not thousands, have contacted us to express frustration and fear over the fact that they are still waiting-in some cases, for nearly two months-for their unemployment claims to be processed. These are people, who through no fault of their own, were forced to stop working. Many of them are eager to safely get back to work," Ritchie said in the letter.
Ritchie said that at "Phase One" of the governor's reopening plan will allow for construction and manufacturing to resume, but points out that manufacturing upstate has declined over a period of decades. “Much of the economy is driven by small businesses,” Ritchie said.
"Whether it's agriculture, service-related businesses or 'mom-and-pop' establishments, the bulk of our region's economy is supported by businesses
that operate in environments that are not at all dense and pose little risk of transmission of illness if proper precautions are taken," the state senator writes.
"Given this fact, combined with our area's low infection rate, we are respectfully requesting that on May 15th our region immediately move to "Phase Two" of reopening. As mentioned, the people of our region have proven they are taking this pandemic seriously. Holding our region to the same standard as downstate, which like upstate is slated to reopen on May 15th under 'Phase One' guidelines, will only increase the severity of the economic damage resulting from the Coronavirus," Ritchie writes.
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