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CNY Enters Phase 4 Without Malls, Gyms


Phase 4 of New York’s reopening strategy started in Onondaga County Friday. Some of Central New York’s arts and recreation businesses will now be able to once again open their doors. However, gyms, movie theaters and malls were not a part of the phase.

County Executive Ryan McMahon said it’s disappointing.

“Our frustration lies with the fact that each region is different. In the beginning part of this process, when we are talking about, before phases, we were talking about what is an essential business defined by Empire State Development,” said McMahon. “There was an exemption process, that you could be deemed essential. We wish that process was available for Destiny. Because maybe some of the concerns make sense with other buildings. We don’t think it does with Destiny.”

Cases from community spread continue to average under 10 per day, and some people are starting to relax habits of social distancing and wearing masks. McMahon said the county will be paying closer attention to businesses who are not enforcing these public health precautions. He also signed an Executive Order that requires any business that has an employee test positive for the virus to give the health department their employment roster.

“The data is really, really strong related to community spread numbers,” said McMahon. “But one community spread case can lead to 20 or 30 or 40 direct contacts, and then it skews your data. We think giving our health department more tools here will help us as we move forward with living with this virus.”

McMahon said over 50% of this week’s cases are affiliated with the Champlain Valley Specialty, an apple processing plant in Oswego County. He’s stressing that the virus is still here, and the county does not want to go backwards.

Katie Zilcosky is WAER’s All Things Considered host and features reporter. She also co-hosts WAER’s public affairs show Syracuse Speaks. As a reporter, she focuses on technology, economy, and identity.