BUFFALO, N.Y. — If data related to the coronavirus in New York State continues to move in the right direction, a week from now, the Finger Lakes region could move to Phase 4, with Western New York just a few days after that.
Phase 4 includes the reopening of museums, entertainment venues and schools, with more youth sports starting back up.
Perhaps one of the most complicated issues in the state's reopening plan is what do with schools, even though they've been closed for months.
The state continues to hold virtual meetings with educators statewide to hear their thoughts on reopening schools. Those meetings run into next week.
The state education department will then present reopening guidance to the Board of Regents at its next meeting on July 13.
Another question has been, when to allow malls to reopen? Stores at the Walden Galleria have expressed their frustration about still being closed.
On Friday, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul talked about malls going forward.
"I think people understand that a mall is a different environment by its nature people congregate there and it's indoors those are the risky situations but we've been working with the mall owners to establish protocols we believe will work safely for people," she said.
Those guidelines have yet to be released.
The state will look at other regions that are ahead of Western New York in terms of reopening to see how things go.
In Phase 4, people will finally be able to go see a movie.
On movie theaters, Regal Cinemas plans to reopen July 10 with numerous safety measures. Theaters will have reduced capacity in parts of the country where it's required.
AMC Theaters say it will resume operations July 15 with measures you would expect on capacity, sanitation and personal protection equipment. AMC says guests will have to wear masks in parts of the country where they are required, like in New York, but you won't need to wear one if you're eating or drinking.
This comes as the state urges people who live out-of-state during the winter, to get tested for Covid upon their return back for the summer.
"We are starting to see scary indicators from other states people who spend part of the year in New York and part of the year in Florida are now returning and we're seeing cases in communities we never had them before," Hochul said.
Hochul didn't specify where those new cases are coming from.
The Albright-Knox Art Galley, which falls into Phase 4, is under construction.
The art gallery has a satellite location on Northland Avenue, which is closed until further notice and public events are postponed through July 31.
The Burchfield Penney Art Center says it is making preparations to reopen, and we're scheduled to talk to the gallery's executive director early next week.