WXXI AM News

Some small businesses and schools impacted by orange zone designation

Nov 23, 2020

Credit James Brown / WXXI News

The decision by the state to move some parts of Monroe County into an orange zone because of rising COVID-19 infection rates will have an economic impact on a number of small businesses.

The President & CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Bob Duffy, said it will be a big economic hit on the small businesses who previously had to close in the spring. And Duffy said he’s not blaming those businesses. He said he is familiar with many of them who have taken the proper steps to protect customers and staff from COVID-19.

But Duffy said that people are mobile, and someone infected may still have visited a number of locations.

“If I were to guess, perhaps the governor’s rationale is those people who may have gone to a party, been infected, they go work out, they get a haircut, they go to these different places , they can also add to the spread.” Duffy is hopeful the areas that just went to the orange zone designation will not be in there long if they can get the COVID-19 infection rates down.

Parts of Irondequoit are impacted by the state’s decision to move part of Monroe County into an orange zone.

Town Supervisor Dave Seeley said this will impact the in-person instruction at a few schools in the East Irondequoit School District and he has been in touch with officials there. Seeley says the goal is to increase rapid testing so that East Irondequoit schools can reopen as quickly as possible after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The county’s made it clear they have a good number of rapid tests available from the state and just as the district did last week when we went into yellow, I think the towns and some other municipalities can set up similar operations where you could test a lot of people and get a lot real time data that can be helpful.” Seeley said that  Irondequoit will be working to set up community rapid testing for residents and he hopes to have more details on that soon.

East Irondequoit school officials say that they have three schools impacted by the designation, Helendale Primary, Laurelton-Pardee Intermediate and our Middle School. Due to that designation, they  are mandated by the staet to close these schools for four days and move to 100% remote instruction until everyone has been tested. Those schools will be fully remote on November 30, and plan on returning to in-person instruction on December 1.

Brighton School Superintendent Kevin McGowan issued a statement to the school community noting that Brighton is within the orange zone, but he said that it’s not because of the district’s infection rates which he said are “exceptionally low.” He also expressed concerns about the requirements the state has for 100% testing of in-person staff and students before school can reopen.

McGowan said that Brighton will be providing all-remote instruction for the week of November 30, “at a minimum.”