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Poloncarz: reopening Western New York will not be done quickly

In a series of Saturday morning tweets, he warned residents that it will not be a sudden, grand event when the numbers improve.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is warning people that when the reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic does come here, it will not be a sudden, grand event.

He sent several tweets on Saturday morning reminding people it will be in phases, starting with construction, manufacturing, and some retail curbside pickup.

Then if things don't get worse over two weeks, it moves onto the next phase, which includes service industries and retail. He confirmed that phase does include barbershops and salons.

Two weeks later could come Phase 3: that's bars, restaurants and hotels at limited capacity, and remember, that step comes four weeks after the reopening starts, at best.

Finally, Phase 4 could start two weeks after that, and it would include the arts, recreation, entertainment and education.

On Thursday, New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who is in charge of leading Western New York's regional reopening, spoke with 2 On Your Side about the COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, she was asked: What needs to be done before the region that includes Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties reopens?

"I have been in regular touch with all five counties as recently as this afternoon, and I have the data that reflects the various hospitalization rates," she said. "In putting it all together to come up with a collective message that says whether or not we will be able to meet the standards in a couple days.

"We're running out of time here. But I'm working closely and working so hard to make sure that we do everything we can to meet that, particularly those (factors) that we have control over."

Hochul stressed the importance of wearing masks and social distancing as factors people can control in an attempt to reopen Western New York.

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