Wendel: ‘Very frustrating’ with gyms, malls left out of Phase 4
Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel said it was “very frustrating” to learn that gyms — along with movie theaters and malls — will not be cleared to reopen when areas of New York state progress to Phase Four.
“I’m right there with them,” Wendel said of the mounting frustration from local business owners. “We thought there was a chance gyms would be in Phase Two. I was advocating for them to be opened in Phase Three. I have spoken at length during our control room meetings and will again today.”
Businesses had been hoping Gov. Andrew Cuomo would allow them to open their doors after a three-month shutdown bought on by the pandemic. But the decision, first reported by the Times-Union of Albany, leave owners uncertain of when they will be able to welcome back customers.
Kyle Stewart, executive director of the Alliance of New York State YMCAs, issued a statement Wednesday, noting his dismay by the “sudden news” that Ys would not permitted to open in the fourth phase.
“For most of our 37 YMCAs statewide who operate 140 locations, this meant a putting a disruptive, and frankly, expensive halt to their reopening plans,” Stewart said. “The consequences of the governor’s action have not only damaged the Y’s fitness operations, but has put the viability of the nonprofit services we deliver to over 1.5 million New Yorkers in jeopardy.
“YMCAs are complex, nonprofit organizations who serve their communities in a variety of ways. We can’t simply flip a switch and reopen, that would be irresponsible and unsafe. As Phase Four drew closer, our YMCAs carefully planned every aspect of reopening to ensure the lowest risk possible to our staff and community. We have been re-training our staff, and preparing to safely welcome our community back.
“YMCAs have been safely running essential services like childcare, food distribution, and housing programs during the pandemic. We know how to operate in a manner that minimizes the risk to our staff and community. Since closing our fitness operations in March, YMCAs have renovated their facilities, adjusted their cleaning protocols, and physically redesigned their spaces in order to create an environment that exceeds the health and safety best practice guidelines from the CDC and Department of Health. At this point, we could write the operational guidelines ourselves.”
3 NEW CASES
Three new cases of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday, bringing the total to date in Chautauqua County to 123. The new cases involve two women and a man in their 20s.
Of the total cases, 56 have been reported in the north county, with 10 in the eastern portion, 23 in the western portion and 34 in the south county.
The county Department of Health said there remains nine active cases of the coronavirus. There are 113 county residents under quarantine/isolation as well as seven deaths and 13,038 negative test results.
DMV OFFICES RESUME OPERATIONS
County Clerk Larry Barmore said all three DMV offices within Chautauqua County will open Monday for full, normal operations. All transactions at that time will be processed in-person at the offices.
In a statement, Barmore said, “We still have a lot of mail-in and drop box transactions that need processing so we are asking that residents discontinue placing transactions in the drop box and bring them into an office for processing. Depending on the amount of work we still have to complete, we may not open all the customer windows for a few days.
“All customers must wear a mask while in the office and a limited number of people will be allowed inside at a time. While waiting outside please keep a 6-foot distance from other customers. Only the person needing the transaction may enter the building. Do not bring your children, neighbors or spouse. The only exception is for under-16 permit testing that requires the presence of a parent.”