Thursday, August 6, 2020

Push quickens to reopen

By Mark Frost, Chronicle Editor

Warren County Administrator Ryan Moore issued a very upbeat assessment Tuesday night about progress being made toward meeting New York State’s criteria to start reopening businesses.

“As of tonight,” Mr. Moore wrote,” Warren County now meets all seven criteria on our own steam.

“This does not mean we can begin our phased re-opening yet.

“We can do so when the Capital Region as a whole qualifies. The region has a bit more work to do on the ‘new infections’ and ‘hospital deaths’ criteria…but we are moving in the right direction.

“Before you get too down on Warren County being held back by our sister counties, please know that although these counties ‘hurt’ us currently in some categories, they ‘help’ us in others.”

Mr. Moore wrote Monday, “We didn’t qualify on our own under the ‘diagnostic testing capacity’ metric until tonight when over 1,000 testing kits arrived from NYS. But the Capital Region as a whole did qualify, and the testing kits in our sister counties were getting Warren County over that hurdle up until tonight.”

Mr. Moore wrote, “With any hope, our region can begin Phase One on May 15th. The ‘PHASE ONE’ tab is much more detailed than the others because that’s where NYS is currently focusing its efforts.

“The idea is that all the types of businesses in Phase One would be able to open, then we would give it at least 14 days to see whether public health is maintained before we could ‘graduate’ into Phase Two.”

Phase One would allow resumption of construction, manufacturing and some retail with curbside pick-up.

Phase Two is professional services, retail, real estate and finance.

Phase Three is restaurants and hotels. Phase Four is arts, education and recreation.

Mr. Moore noted that the “recreation” category listed in Phase Four “currently encompasses” many local things, citing as examples “camping, hotel pools, beaches, Cool Arena, Six Flags.” He said they “might very well be broken out and shifted into earlier or later categories as the state figures this all out. In their own words, the state is ‘building the plane as we fly it.’”

Mr. Moore cautioned that progress hinges on health metrics continuing to be met.

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