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Finger Lakes and 4 other regions move into Phase 3 of reopening on Friday

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The Rochester-Finger Lakes area and four other upstate New York regions will be entering Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plans on Friday, as part of the regulations set up by the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That announcement was made Thursday by Governor Andrew Cuomo at his daily briefing.  Cuomo said the data, which is reviewed by global experts, allows for Phase 3 to begin, and that phase primarily centers on restaurants and the personal care industry.

Under Phase 3, there arespecific requirements for restaurants including limiting indoor capacity to no more than 50% of maximum capacity. There also has to be a 6-foot distance between tables or physical barriers between tables. Employees need to wear face coverings and so do patrons, except when they are seated.

Under Phase 2, there was some limited outdoor seating allowed at restaurants in the region.

Phase 3 also includespersonal care services including massage therapy, spas, various cosmetology services and tattoo parlors. There are also specific guidelines about how they may operate.

Cuomo and other state officials have said there will be at least 2 weeks between each phase of reopening, guided by data that includes hospitalization and infection rates.

Cuomo on Thursday cautioned businesses to “follow the guidelines and do what is permissible to do.” He said not doing that could endanger a business’s liquor license or their right to operate.

Cuomo also announced that public pools and playground can be open, if desired by local governments, but the governor said they need to study the data and see if it is safe to do that.

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.