MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel is reminding citizens that Phase One of Western New York’s Gradual reopening is only limited to specific businesses, and those businesses still must adhere to social distancing and other health guidelines issued by New York State.
Wendel says there is more than one phase, specifically stating that hair and beauty shops will remain closed during Phase One of the reopening. In addition, Wendel is urging people to remain in compliance with the health guidelines.
“We do not want to revert back to a PAUSE,” Wendel said during a press conference Tuesday morning. “We all need to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
Wendel concedes there will be an increase in cases during the reopening, which makes the adherence to health guidelines all the more important.
“Please use common sense,” Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler added. “The virus hasn’t gone anywhere.” She says the County has done a “tremendous job” during its effort to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Schuyler also urges citizens not to judge those who may not be wearing a mask as they could have a pre-existing health condition. New York State’s order mandating people wear a mask in public when social distancing isn’t possible gives an exemption to those who can’t medically tolerate a mask.
Schuyler says a surge in cases over this past weekend is due to people gathering “prematurely.” Schuyler and Doctor Robert Burke are both encouraging citizens to “be smart” about how they act during the reopening.
Wendel acknowledges that wearing masks can be frustrating, but he says the mask wearing has played a critical role in preventing a “backslide.”
The County Executive says he’s been in contact with business owners, like Penny Echard of Penny’s Less Family Salon in Falconer, to discuss what the future may hold or their businesses.
Wendel clarified that the State of Emergency that he has issued and extended will not affect the reopening phases. He says that, to his knowledge, Phase Two would begin in two weeks provided Western New York continues to meet the guidelines from the Governor’s office.
Wendel says he believes Department of Motor Vehicles would open during Phase Two, but he’ll give the public an official answer when he is apprised on the matter.
State Senator George Borrello also reminds people to use “common sense” and adhere to social distancing. In addition, he asks people to be “respectful” towards each other.