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Capital Region, Western NY to join other regions in phase three, Cuomo says

New York state
New York state's COVID-19 data dashboard as of Saturday, June 13, 2020

Western New York (the Buffalo area) and the Capital Region will enter Phase Three of reopening their economies by the middle of next week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday, meaning those regions will be able to allow indoor dining at restaurants and personal care services to resume.

The two regions will join five other regions of the state (including the Rochester-Finger Lakes region) that have already entered the third phase, meaning seven of the state’s 10 regions will have met that benchmark by Wednesday.

Central New York, the Southern Tier, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, and the Finger Lakes region all entered Phase Three on Friday. No region of the state has seen a significant increase in cases of hospitalizations from COVID-19 since reopening, Cuomo said.

Western New York is expected to enter Phase Three on Tuesday, with the Capital Region to follow on Wednesday, Cuomo said.

But he reminded regions to closely watch the numbers as the reopening process continues. If any clusters of COVID-19 develop in the meantime, it’s their job to tamp them down, Cuomo said. If they don’t, their reopening could be slowed, stopped, or reversed.

“This is their job, and if they don’t do their job, then they’re going to have the really unpopular task, which is explaining to their local community why they have to slow, or stop, their reopening,” Cuomo said.

Restaurants will be allowed to resume indoor dining in Phase Three, but will have to maintain appropriate social distancing and safety guidelines, such as wearing masks.

Phase Three will also allow a series of personal care services to come back online, including tattoo and piercing shops, nail salons, tanning salons, waxing services, massage therapy, spas, and other cosmetological services.

If the current trajectory of the disease continues in all regions of the state, Long Island and the Mid-Hudson region could enter Phase Three within two weeks. New York City started Phase One on Monday, so they’re far off from entering Phase Three.

The number of deaths reached a new low on Friday, the latest data from the state. An additional 32 people died from COVID-19 — the lowest number since the peak of the disease in April.