Phase II reopening on hold until international experts analyze data

Emily Burkhard
Updated: May 29, 2020 04:47 AM
Created: May 29, 2020 12:19 AM

It's been nearly two weeks since five regions of the state went into Phase one reopening. Many business owners under Phase II of the re-opening plan thought that meant they could get the green light on Friday, but on Thursday Governor Andrew Cuomo said that's not the case.

Cuomo said experts will have to sign off on regional metrics before they are able to head into Phase II. Cuomo wasn't specific on how long that would take. That leaves some businesses like barbershops, salons and retail stores in limbo.


“We are ready to cut I mean I probably speak for every barbers and hairstylist out there we miss our customers,” said Jeff Schaperjahn.

Schaperjahn owns Hagaman Barbershop. He said about a week ago he started making changes to his shop to promote social distancing in anticipation of re-opening on Saturday.

But, in an interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Cuomo said each region's metrics still need to be reviewed by infectious disease experts Dr. Michael Osterholm and Dr. Samir Bhatt.

“All of the data points and we advise it and then we give it to the international expert we're going to ask them to analyze it and if they sign off and say go to Phase II,” Cuomo said,

Assemblyman Angelo Santabaraba said that's not the same plan the governor laid out a few weeks ago. He's now calling on the legislature to pass a bill he introduced that would limit the governor's executive power during a crisis.

"We need to have safeguards in place if this bill was in place we could reconvene right now and say look we need to limit your power, we're not going to extend the executive power any further,” Santabarbara said.

Santabarbara said communication between Cuomo’s office and legislators has been virtually non-existent.

Schaperjahn agrees, he feels a little lost in this process.

“We're hoping to get some real hard guidelines in what needs to be done,” he said.

Schaperjahn said for him, that means rearranging his chairs and asking that barbers and customer wear PPE in the shop. He's also only offering cuts to seniors and people with compromised immune systems on Mondays.

Schaperjahn said sanitizing is already a big part of what barbers hairdressers are required to do under state normally, but he said wants to step it up even more now.

The problem is, many of those supplies aren't available in many places.

"It's been hard to get the Barbicide and the clippers and disinfectants and everything,” Schaperjahn said.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to Cuomo’s office for clarification on how long experts will need to analyze the metrics from each region, but did not hear back.

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