UPDATE: Governor reportedly changes course again, Phase 2 back on in St. Lawrence County
BY ANDY GARDNER
North Country This Week
After changing course twice in 24 hours, it now appears St. Lawrence County will move to phase two re-opening. The Utica Observer Dispatch is reporting "retail shops, office-based workplaces and hair salons across much of Upstate New York will be permitted to reopen their doors for the first time in more than two months."
St. Lawrence County Administrator Ruth Doyle and Board of Legislature's Chair Joe Lightfoot were not immediately available for comment.
St. Lawrence County on Thursday night had been told by the governor's office that they will not advance to the second phase of economic re-opening, Doyle said in a Friday morning email.
She said the state announced “there is a need to have a review of the metrics by international experts before the next phase can begin. We were not advised on when the review will take place or when Phase II can be expected. When updates on the process are provided to us, we will share [them].”Prior to the announcement that phase two will be delayed, the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators chairman said he doesn’t feel he and other regional leaders have enough information from the state to determine what exactly will be included in phase two.
“It allows for, in general terms, professional services,” county board Chairman Joe Lightfoot said, adding that also included are retail, administrative support and real estate.
“The state gave a fair amount of guidance with respect to the opening of phase one: what to do, what to expect, who’s included,” Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg, said late Thursday afternoon. “As we speak right now with phase two . . . we have little to no guidance at all from the state of NY on who’s eligible.”
“Hairdressers, are they professional services? They’re licensed. I assume they are. We need to know if they are or not,” said Lightfoot. “Barbershops, they’re licensed, nail salons … are all these people who hold licenses under the umbrella of professional services?”
Lightfoot said he and other North Country county legislative chairs hold daily teleconference meetings to discuss the status of the pandemic in the North Country, and how to go about reopening.
“We would just like to get answers to the questions people are calling us about,” Lightfoot said. “We’re hoping we can get useful and accurate information from decision makers in Albany.”
He believes the phase one re-opening in St. Lawrence County went well.
“I think it went very well from what I’m hearing,” he said. “The state came out with some pretty good guidelines to answer, certainly not all, but most of the questions people in [the group of North Country legislative chairs) posed.
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