Retailers waiting for guidance on Phase 2 of the reopening

May 28, 2020

Eastview, one of the Wilmorite malls in the Rochester area.
Credit eastviewmall.com

The Rochester-Finger Lakes area and four other regions in the state will have been in Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan for two weeks as of Friday.

But some local business owners haven’t yet received the guidance they’re hoping for.

Phase 2 in the state’s plan for helping safely get various businesses and services back open during the pandemic was set up to start two weeks into Phase 1, assuming various metrics can be met on things like new hospitalizations, infection rates and other data.

Some business owners were hoping to hear Governor Andrew Cuomo talk about that during his midday briefing on Thursday. That didn’t happen, and on Albany public radio station WAMC later in the day, Cuomo said that it will be up to the state and the experts to analyze the information collected over the last two weeks.

"When the reopening of Phase 1 ends, we’ll give the experts all the data, it’s posted on the web, but let them analyze it and if they say we should move forward, we move forward," Cuomo said.

The lack of a specific target date yet for moving on to Phase 2, which would involve retail, has made it difficult for local mall owner Wilmorite to know what to tell its store tenants.

A statement from the developer says that it’s disappointing not to have a specific date yet, since it takes retailers time to call staff back to work and prepare their stores.

That said, Wilmorite recently did tell the retailers in its malls to get preparations going in case they can reopen by Monday. A statement from Wilmorite released on Thursday said that, "Currently, the only alternative for retailers is curbside pick-up, which is not a viable option for most." Wilmorite said that the malls are ready to re-open and have completed the necessary preparations, and they are now hoping to receive news on an exact opening date soon.