bob duffy

Chamber of Commerce/Zoom

As the end of the two-week period for the Phase 1 reopening in the Finger Lakes comes up on Friday, a local business official says he won’t predict just when Phase two will start.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Bob Duffy, the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President & CEO who also is a regional advisor on the reopening to Governor Andrew Cuomo, said that the governor will be looking carefully at all the metrics, including things like the infection rate of the coronavirus, before deciding when the Finger Lakes can move on to Phase 2.



How soon and how safely can the Rochester area’s economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic?  That was a topic explored in a live forum on WXXI-TV, radio and online Thursday night by officials and area business people.

"We hold the future in our hands." That’s the way Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Michael Mendoza views how quickly  and safely the region can reopen.

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.

Rochester area leaders are urging a cautious approach in reopening businesses and other organizations, even as they also indicate that steps taken so far have helped keep the coronavirus from overwhelming the area’s hospitals.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, the county’s Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Michael Mendoza, and Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Bob Duffy all say that while progress has been made in containing the virus, the phased-in reopening of the state, which is being led by Governor Andrew Cuomo, is the right approach.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce

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.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce

Governor Andrew Cuomo is tapping some local and state leaders to help parts of the state reopen businesses and other venues in a very measured way.

During his daily briefing Tuesday, which was held in Buffalo, Cuomo said he would call on his former Lt. Governor, Bob Duffy, who is now the President & CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, to help coordinate public health and business activity in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region.

An upstate business organization is calling on state officials to accelerate plans for reopening some businesses where appropriate.

Unshackle Upstate says that as state officials begin the task of restarting the economy, it is critical that they engage upstate business leaders in the process.

WXXI photo

Monroe County has established a website to help connect people who are looking for jobs with ‘essential businesses,’ those that can remain operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

County Executive Adam Bello said that  job seekers and employers are encouraged to use the job bank that is run by Rochester Works.

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Greater Rochester Enterprise have heard of local businesses who want to hire people right now.

James Brown / WXXI News

  Monroe County Executive Adam Bello’s transition team released an 80-page report Tuesday with recommendations on how Bello should run the county.

Bob Duffy, the president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, co-chairs the team, which is made up of community leaders. He said there has not been a full transition plan formed for the county in decades.

James Brown WXXI

A few lawyers from New York City are suing businesses around the state because the companies’ websites are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But leaders from the Center for Disability Rights, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and local law firm Nixon Peabody question whether these lawyers care about accessibility -- or big settlements.