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Bob Duffy pleased about lifting of microcluster zones

James Brown

Bob Duffy, president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, is pleased about the lifting of microcluster zone restrictions in most of New York state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made that announcement Wednesday, citing the recent declines in the COVID-19 infection rate statewide.

But Duffy cautioned there is still a ways to go in getting back to the kind of environment many small businesses are looking for.

Duffy also heads up the governor's Finger Lakes advisory group on the COVID-19 reopening and he is supportive of the move Cuomo made to lift the microcluster, orange and yellow zones that had impacted a lot of local businesses like restaurants and gyms.

But as Duffy noted, the previous statewide restrictions are still in place which also affect capacity in terms of the number of customers allowed inside those businesses.

"We’re on a journey, and it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint, so we’re going to end up, probably for several months going through steps along the way," Duffy said. "But I think today what it does do is it really reinforces, it builds maybe a much more positive spirit that we’re getting back to some sense of normalcy. We’re not there yet.”

Duffy also made a plea for more government help for small and medium sized businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic. 

"Everybody in America does not need a stimulus check, I’m sorry. Those that need it the most should get more," he said. "Those that have been decimated in their businesses, those that are out of work, those that have maybe, been on the edge of bankruptcy, I think we need to look at trying to make sure you put the money where it’s needed and it has to be a long term investment."

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.