James Bulmahn / St. Stanislaus Church

Rabbi Peter Stein says he’s taking it slow when it comes to bringing people back inside Brighton’s Temple B'rith Kodesh.

That’s an option now that Governor Andrew Cuomo says places of worship can host services with a quarter of their occupancy. Stein says his temple is large enough to add social distancing protocols but he says there are other concerns like keeping common areas safe for everyone.

For now, Stein says he expects to keep connected with his congregation through live streams and other technology.

Local real estate agents are expecting that pent-up demand will create a highly competitive housing market now that the Finger Lakes region is in phase two of reopening. 

Max Schulte/WXXI News & CITY Newspaper

Some businesses in Monroe County and the Finger Lakes region could reopen starting at the end of this week, when Governor Andrew Cuomo’s latest shutdown order expires.

During his Monday COVID-19 briefing, which he delivered at Rochester Regional Health’s Riedman Campus Training Center in Irondequoit, Cuomo said that Monroe County and its neighboring eight counties had met seven key metrics indicating they had slowed the spread of the virus and will be able to begin reopening certain kinds of businesses by Friday.

“We start a new chapter today in many ways, a new phase,” Cuomo said to an audience of reporters and elected officials, including County Executive Adam Bello, spread out to maintain physical distancing guidelines.

Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

The New York state health department is constructing drive-through coronavirus testing sites in five upstate counties, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

Several details were still unclear. The state health department and the governor’s office said the facilities would be opening this week in Monroe, Erie, Broome, Niagara and Oneida counties, but they did not respond to questions about why those particular counties were chosen.

The health department also did not set a more specific timeline for the facilities’ opening or answer questions about where the sites would be set up.

Rochester City Council finance committee chairman Malik Evans said that financial trouble on the state level will make crafting the city’s budget more challenging.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that 20% of state aid to municipalities like Rochester may be cut due to shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Evans also said that shortfalls in the city’s tax collections will affect its budget.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that hospitals, local governments and schools may face a 20% cut in state aid without more help from the federal government. 

In the case of education, Cuomo has four windows to assess state revenue and perhaps take back some money from this year’s budget.

Citizen Action of New York’s Stevie Vargas said that schools can’t handle any more cuts

Ryan Williamson

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that schools in New York state should stay closed until at least April 15 to continue efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade said Cuomo’s decision does not affect the district’s approach right now. 

“The extension by the governor takes us to April 15,” said Dade. “Which is just beyond spring break. So there’s not a whole lot of difference with the instruction that we will provide.”


U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer called the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package “the exact kind of medicine” that the nation and the state needs. 

During a conference call with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday, Schumer said nearly every New Yorker will likely be touched by the aid package.

“We can tell New Yorkers that help is on the way,” said Schumer. “It's quick aid and large aid, big aid.”

The package includes billions for state and county governments, including $128 million for Monroe County, and funding for transit systems like RTS, hospitals, small businesses, nonprofits, Native American reservations, and extended unemployment payments. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that he is ordering all workers in nonessential businesses to stay home and banning gatherings statewide.

"Only essential businesses can have workers commuting to the job or on the job," Cuomo said of an executive order he will sign Friday.

The new rules will go into effect on Sunday, Cuomo said.

Essential businesses include medical providers, food suppliers and transit services.

James Brown / WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed that all local government workforces be reduced by 50 percent at any one time in an effort to slow the spread of novel coronavirus.

With that, local leaders are figuring out how to continue serving residents with far fewer people in their offices.