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Duffy says moving to the next phase in reopening has to be based on data

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Bob Duffy.
Chamber of Commerce/Zoom
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Bob Duffy.

As the end of the two-week period for the Phase 1 reopening in the Finger Lakes comes up on Friday, a local business official says he won’t predict just when Phase two will start.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Bob Duffy, the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President & CEO who also is a regional advisor on the reopening to Governor Andrew Cuomo, said that the governor will be looking carefully at all the metrics, including things like the infection rate of the coronavirus, before deciding when the Finger Lakes can move on to Phase 2.

Duffy emphasized that the decision on moving on to the next phase is not up to him or the regional director for Empire State Development.

“The decision is not anyone’s locally, it is not mine, it is not Vinnie Esposito’s,  it’s no one here. The decision rests solely with the governor and he’s going through those metrics and the data as we speak, and we should hear at some point in the next few days, what his decisions are going to be.” Duffy noted that although local hospitalization rates for COVID-19 have been up lately, there are some specific reasons for that related to the change in how nursing home patients are released back to their residence. And he says infection numbers locally have been trending downward.

Duffy said that even while some people are eager for more businesses to reopen, others have expressed concerns about how the process is handled.

“The fear factor and the trepidation about going back to normal, walking on a plane, into a restaurant, a concert, a business. There’s a fear factor there, we have to build that confidence back, step by step. You do that with great plans, great reopening plans, thoughtful practices to protect employees and customers,” Duffy said.

The Phase 1 reopening included some manufacturing and construction activities. Phase Two includes retail and professional services.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.