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Businesses ask questions about reopening during Zoom meeting

BROOME COUNTY (WBNG) -- During the first of three Zoom meetings aimed at helping businesses reopen while keeping people safe from coronavirus, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar spoke to more than 200 business owners Tuesday about the reopening plan.

Speaking for more than an hour, Garnar laid out the county's role and explained what business owners need to do to prepare for reopening, an issue Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed in his daily news conference, held at Binghamton University Tuesday afternoon.

In the first half of the meeting, Garnar spoke about the county's efforts to slow the spread of the virus. He explained how the county addressed multiple challenges, such as filling healthcare requests for personal protective equipment (PPE), and providing masks to the public.

Garnar also informed the businesses the region must also constantly meet the 7 guidelines for reopening. The Southern Tier was one of three regions in New York State that met the criteria.

The state will also reopen businesses in four phases. Businesses, such as those in construction, manufacturing, and wholesale supply chains, are allowed to reopen in phase one, starting May 15. The state will inform the county when it can move into phase 2 to reopen more businesses.

For information on the reopening phases, click here.

Garnar also urged business leaders to create a gameplan so they can reopen. Businesses are required to submit their plan to the state through a portal before they resume operations. The plan "must be visible and public", and designed to limit the spread of coronavirus to protest employees and consumers. The county will provide guidance as to when the portal is active.

If the Southern Tier falls below the threshold, businesses could be required to shut back down. Garnar said it's important businesses and the community work to meet the requirements.

During the meeting, Garnar told the audience he believes hair salons and dental offices fall into phase 2 of the reopening guidelines, while churches are considered in phase 4, unless the state provides more guidance.


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