MAYVILLE – Among Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel’s chief concerns is reopening the county economy while still being responsible and safe.
Wendel, in an interview Thursday, told WNYNewsNow that he sees no reason local gyms can’t open and has been saying this at every control room meeting with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“We’ve been told all along that they’re looking at it that, they’re reviewing the on formation,” Wendel, who has a master’s degree in exercise and performance, said. “If you go across the border into Warren and Erie counties, both in Pennsylvania, they’ve not seen an uptick in their gyms and health facilities, they’re open.”
Wendel said he has been assured there will be an announcement soon, but was not told what will be announced.
“I’m getting a lot of information from gym owners around the county. They’re concerned and I bring it to the governor every time.”
He said looking at Warren and Jamestown is a tale of two cities because Warren gyms are open, but Jamestown’s are not.
Reports indicate many customers are going to Warren gyms to work out, and may not return to Chautauqua County gyms once they reopen.
“It’s concerning. We don’t want our residents to leave. We don’t mind supporting businesses, but not when our businesses are suffering.”
Wendel again called for the state government to look at each location on a county by county basis instead of a regional approach, which he said Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently rejected.
“We’re fighting the fight. At this point I really would like more consideration on a county by county basis. My request for more phases was rejected by the governor.”
The county is constantly monitoring the COVID-19 impact on the local economy, Wendell stressed.
“We’re hearing more and more businesses that are closing from COVID-19 and it’s disappointing,” Wendel said. “As retesting ramped up, the numbers have remained relatively low here in Chautauqua County. Our infection rate was low. It’s very concerning when all these businesses are closed.”
He said it is time to safely and responsibly reopen the county’s businesses.
“The governor talked about opening that faucet, it’s been at a trickle for a long, long time,” Wendel said. “We can do this responsibly, keeping our residents safe but still opening our economy more than it is.
Wendell also discussed how COVID-19 has changed the face of campaigning in 2020.
To see the full interview, watch the video above or click here.