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Phase two of reopening on hold for now

By BRIANA O’HARA

The Leader-Herald

MOHAWK VALLEY — Hair salons, barber shops, retail stores and other businesses that were getting ready to open today as part of New York’s phase two reopening plan will now have to wait.

Although, the Mohawk Valley region meets all the metrics to go into phase two of reopening, that will not happen today as planned.

“We were notified tonight during the Mohawk Valley Control Group meeting that Phase Two of the reopening process will not begin tomorrow, despite the fact our region is well within every metric needed to move forward,” said Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort in a statement on Thursday. “I am shocked and frustrated with this news. Leaders from across the Mohawk Valley have been working tirelessly to prepare and provide guidance to their communities. Many Montgomery County residents have spent time and resources preparing to reopen tomorrow and many of you have been looking forward to experiencing the simple things such as a haircut.”

He said they are working gather more information regarding the Phase Two Reopening and are hoping to hear more information soon.

Ossenfort and other county officials will give an update on Facebook Live today at 1 p.m.

The phase two of the reopening plan includes the reopening of all office-based jobs, real estate services, retail in-store shopping, vehicle sales, leases and rental businesses, retail rental, repair and cleaning businesses, commercial building management and limited barbershop and hair salon services.

These businesses have been preparing to open following the NY Forward Safety Plan template for businesses to use and for them to show how they plan to open safely and while following social distancing guidelines such as keeping people six feet apart, sanitizing and having protective gear that would include wearing masks.

Fulton County Administrative Officer/Clerk of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors Jon Stead, who is also a member of the Mohawk Valley Control Group, said they just notified at 7 p.m. on Thursday that phase two is being delayed and will not start today as planned. He said Gov. Andrew Cuomo has diverged from his original plan of following the seven metrics and wants there to be additional review from experts.

Stead said the Mohawk Valley region has stayed well under the required levels of those seven metrics.

“We do expect phase two to take place, but not today as planned,” Stead said.

He said they were given no further details as to when phase two will happen, but it will happen.

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