Bob Duffy says he understands the frustration of small business owners who want to reopen sooner rather than later.
But Duffy, the President and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce who is also acting in an advisory capacity to Governor Andrew Cuomo for reopening various businesses and other operations in the Finger Lakes, says health and safety have to come first.
Cuomo is talking about a phased reopening from the restrictions caused by the coronavirus, possibly starting after May 15. The first businesses to reopen will likely be manufacturing and construction. But Duffy says all businesses should have plans ready to go for when they eventually do get approval to reopen.
“My sense is always be proactive, don’t wait for somebody to say, ‘We’re going to be open, if you have a plan.’ Then you’re delayed by 2 or 3 or 4 weeks. I’d be working on that right now, and paramount has to be, the safety of employees and the safety of customers,” Duffy said.
Duffy also said it would probably be a good idea to continue have employees work remotely where that is possible, in an effort to keep the virus from spreading.
“If you can work remotely, great, for a lot of companies you can’t. You can’t manufacture, you can’t package remotely from your home. But there are functions in every company that can. So even as businesses reopen, I think we reduce the infection, we reduce the proximity that we have with people and the concerns they have by keeping these remote workplaces going,” Duffy told reporters on Tuesday.
Duffy has been meeting with local health and government officials, and also is in touch with area businesses for information on how and when local businesses can reopen.