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COVID-19 Update: CNY Can Start Phase One, Universal Testing Continues In Onondaga County

Onondaga County Executive's Office

Central New York officially got the green light from the State Thursday to start Phase One reopening. Businesses, both who are just starting to operate and those who have been operating, will need to certify that they have reviewed the guidance and create a safety plan.


The plan will not need to be submitted to any state or local agency but needs to be on hand in case of a county inspection. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said there are still gray areas, but that is the nature of the process.

"You can’t answer every single specific question based off of one set of rules, because it physically or functionally, it’s impossible,” said McMahon. “So we just need to use our best judgement and common sense.”

Guidance and metrics are available online now. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh joined McMahon at his briefing to reinforce a shared message: Now is not the time to relax health and safety measures. 

“The reason we got here is because we have been doing the right things,” said Walsh. “If we want to continue to make progress, we need to continue to do the right things. So, now is not the time to let our guard down. Now is the time to be more resolved. Because, as the County Executive said, we are introducing some new risk here.”

The regional officials leading the reopening process will start meeting every day. McMahon said they will continue to share guidance to give businesses and the public a better idea of how to navigate Phase One. 

Universal testing will continue at the Syracuse Community Health Center through this week. McMahon said it’s likely they will hold this testing next week as well. Officials expect the number of positive COVID-19 cases to go up as the community gets back together. 


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.