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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.

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.

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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.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce

The Department of Homeland Security says New York residents will be cut off from 'trusted traveler' programs because of a state law that prevents immigration officials from accessing motor vehicle records.

DHS officials say the New York law endangers national security by preventing federal agents from getting access to motor vehicle and criminal records in the state.

New York officials said the decision was politically motivated.

RocHealthData.org

A report released Tuesday offers data about the Rochester region’s health.

The Community Health Indicator Report found that in the 13 counties around the region, smoking is higher than the national average, as is obesity.

The report also found that about two-thirds of people in the region who have high blood pressure have the condition under control. Around 74 percent of people with diabetes are managing their condition as well, the research found.

At a conference on marijuana hosted by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, law enforcement officials acknowledged that current laws around the drug are not enforced equally.

“We want to treat everybody equally, obviously, and we’re not doing that,” said Monroe County Undersheriff Korey Brown, speaking on a panel about legal issues surrounding marijuana. “So we need to make a change.”

Brown said people of color and people who live in impoverished neighborhoods often bear the brunt of policing, especially when it comes to marijuana.