SYRACUSE, N.Y. – On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Central New York region had met all criteria to begin reopening.
This region includes Madison County, where there was recently an outbreak at Green Empire Farms in Oneida. More than 150 employees at the greenhouse have tested positive for coronavirus.
Despite the uptick in cases from the outbreak, county officials say they are ready to open.
“We know as a county and as a region we are ready to reopen. We have reached all of our metrics laid out by the state. I know there were some questions regarding testing numbers. We have shown this week with the help of our regional partners that we are able to reach those numbers,” said County Chairman John Becker.
As the county prepares to reopen, Green Empire Farms was given a deadline to complete construction of an on-site housing facility and implement other safety measures.
"After consulting with the State Health Department, the Madison County Health Department will be requiring the Green Empire Farms to complete the construction of their on-site housing facilities and have the workers currently staying at hotels transferred to those facilities within the next 60 days.
“In addition, they will have to have a plan in place to address social distancing, the number of workers per room, wearing facemasks, cleaning protocols, etc., for these facilities, and they will need to be submitted to my office for approval," said Public Health Director Eric Faisst.
Madison County has also created a COVID-19 Workplace Recovery Guide, and other resources for businesses preparing to open, which can be viewed at: www.madisoncounty.ny.gov.