After an anxiety-ridden 24 hours, during which they didn't know whether to call in staff or cancel appointments, business, store and hair salon owners in the Mohawk Valley Region learned around 1pm Friday that they were, in fact, free to reopen. Some, however, didn't wait.
"We have to be open. It's a do or die situation. We are a small business and I'm not about to let 40 years of hard work go down the drain," said Peter Bolos, of Big Apple Music. The store opened at 9am Friday. "Our store is clean, everything is wiped down with alcohol. We're doing everything we need."
Local elected leaders were blindsided Thursday night upon learning that, although they'd met all the benchmarks set forth by the governor in order to reopen, they couldn't, until a panel of international experts reviewed all the data from regions that opened in phase one. They apparently did that by 1pm Friday, when the governor declared phase two had begun.
"There's been a lot of ambiguity throughout this process and it's understandable during such a crisis that there's gonna be some confusion and I think overall, everyone's done their best. But in this particular insatnce, there's no reason for this lack of clarity and ambiguity," says Senator Joseph Griffo, (R) 47th.
While even mall stores with entrances separate from the mall can now open, Dick's Sporting Goods, at New Hartford's Sangertown Square, said Thursday afternoon they were curbside only. The parking lot at Sangertown Square, in New Hartford, was largely empty Friday afternoon, possibly because stores need to schedule staff in order to fully reopen. No one answered the mall management phones.
We asked Senator Griffo if the uncertainty would precede phase three, in two weeks.
"Well, I hope that's not the case. Obviously you have criteria now that we're aware of and that's why the local officials are trying to be guided by that and work wtihin those guidelines and I again think they're doing an extraordinary job and now the state has to make sure that that communication is concise and clear."