Hundreds of Hudson Valley Businesses Want to be Allowed to Reopen
A countless number of Hudson Valley residents and employees that are on the "brink of financial ruin" will be further impacted following last-minute changes to the COVID-19 reopening, local officials said.
On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed gym, malls and movie theaters won't reopen in Phase 4 of the state's four-step COVID-19 reopening as many expected.
"Yesterday, they claimed these businesses were never tied to the opening of Phase 4. What they told us was absolutely different than what they said over the last three weeks - and never once did they say otherwise," Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said on Facebook on Thursday. "Yesterday’s announcement doesn’t yet affect our region but they’re obligated to explain what the metric, the measurement, the science is. A last-minute, 30-minute phone call is not sufficient."
Many assumed gyms, malls and movie theaters would be apart of Phase 4. Five of New Yorks' 10 regions reached Phase 4 on Friday. If all goes according to plan, the Hudson Valley will enter Phase 4 on Tuesday, July 7.
“New Yorkers have gone above and beyond to do their part to protect public health. Now, once again, in the dark of night, the state is re-writing the rules and making arbitrary decisions about who can open next and who cannot. It’s absolutely not right and I stand in support of the countless Hudson Valley employers and employees who are on the brink of financial ruin in calling on the state to allow these businesses to reopen as planned," Sue Serino, New York Senate District 41, said in a press release.
Senator Serino claims original guidance issued by the state included gyms, malls and movie theaters in Phase 4.
"According to guidance originally issued by the state, Phase 4 reopening would include malls, gyms and movie theaters. However, late last night, local officials quietly received guidance noting that these businesses would not be opening as originally planned. Instead, they were told media production, including motion picture, TV and streaming service production, as well as ‘low-risk’ indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment could resume operations," Serino said. "While the state has indicated these other businesses can open ‘soon,’ no date, plan or guidelines have been released that would indicate when that would be."
On Wednesday, Cuomo said officials are continuing to study the impact air conditions have on spreading coronavirus at gyms, malls and businesses.
"There are reports malls, bars, certain social clubs with air conditioning, that it may not be cleansing the air of the virus and just recycling the virus, so we're studying that and as soon as we get more information we’ll make a decision," Cuomo said.
On Thursday, Pyramid Management Group, which operates the Galleria at Crystal Run in Middletown and the Poughkeepsie Galleria stated the air conditioners running in the malls are no different than other air conditioners used at businesses that are allowed to reopen.
"While we can appreciate the State’s concern about the public’s health and safety, any reporting that suggests that HVAC systems within enclosed shopping centers are more likely to distribute the virus than HVAC systems within restaurants, barber shops, office buildings, museums and freestanding retailers already open like Target, Wal Mart, Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx (and others) is simply false. The quality of overall air circulation in our shopping centers, which also benefit from considerable open and airy corridors, is as good or better than those venues that have been allowed to re-open. Numerous health and safety experts support the view that enclosed shopping centers present no greater risk of spreading the virus through their HVAC systems than standalone, freestanding retailers’ locations (see citation below). If anything, the relative risk within our airy, enclosed malls may in fact be lower as we have done more than is necessary based on health and safety recommendations to improve the existing air filtration systems within our shopping centers to bolster the quality of airflow within our centers," Pyramid Management Group said in a statement.