UTICA, N.Y. – Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente found out on a call with state officials after his daily press conference Thursday, that the region does not have the green light to move forward with Phase 2 of reopening Friday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in an interview with WAMC Radio Thursday, said “When the reopening of phase one ends, we'll give the experts all the data. It is posted on the web but let them analyze it. And if they say we should move forward, we'll move forward.”
It is unclear how long this "expert review" will take. Under the guidelines previously set by the state, Picente says Oneida County has met all of the statistical criteria to move forward with reopening.
Businesses like salons and retail stores set to open in Phase 2 have been waiting all week for more guidance from the state, but prepared to open Friday either way.
Picente says he will not stop businesses from reopening Friday, as planned.
He added that he is disappointed in the way the state handled this decision, notifying the regions at 7 p.m. the night before the day many businesses owners planned to open their doors.
“And at 7 o’clock the night before, the bomb is dropped that says, they can’t open because we’ve got to have other experts look at this data. It’s outrageous. It’s an insult,” said Picente. “It’s an insult to every business in this community that has been struggling.”
Herkimer County Chairman Jim Bono also expressed his outrage with the news, saying “This is just absurd. They keep pulling the rug out from under us. We have had no direct communication from the governor. It’s disheartening. We were told there were guideliens and we met them.”
Watch Picente's Thursday night press conference below.