County Officials Outline Plan For Reopening Economy

P-J file photo by Eric Tichy

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel outlined what reopening will look like locally during a press conference Tuesday morning in Mayville.

The Western New York region, which includes Chautauqua County, entered Phase One of reopening today as the coronavirus continues to grip the nation and the economy.

The WNY region joined others outside the New York City area that recently met all seven metrics needed to enter Phase One, which includes construction; agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; retail, which will be limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off; manufacturing; and wholesale trade.

The county executive said area residents should continue to practice social distancing and wear masks when in public. He said failure to do so can impact the reopening effort.

“We don’t want to enter a backslide and enter a pause,” Wendel said, noting that many businesses are eager to open. “We all need to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19. … What we are doing is working and we need to continue that.”

Mark Geise, deputy county executive for Economic Development and CEO of the county Industrial Development Agency, said there has been a “dark cloud hanging over the economy” due to the coronavirus. He said the state’s website — forward.ny.gov — is available for virus-related information as well as where businesses can print out a template required to reopen.

Each business looking to reopen is required to develop a written safety plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. The templates do not need state approval, but are required be kept on the premises.

Christine Schuyler, public health director, said only 2% to 3% of those tested for antibodies have come back positive. As a result, she said it’s likely there will be an increase in the number of new cases of the virus when the local economy begins to open up again.

Dr. Robert Berke, county physician, said he has seen packed bars and beaches in other parts of the country where economies have reopened. “It’s just a license to spread this disease,” he said.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)