Downtown Olean

A patron walks with takeout from Beef ‘N Barrel on North Union Street Monday evening. Olean and Cattaraugus County can begin the first phase of reopening after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s go-ahead on Monday.

OLEAN — Businesses, industry and even some government offices will begin reopening shortly, if not today.

Mayor Bill Aiello was pleased that Phase 1 of reopening — including nonessential manufacturing, construction and curbside retail industries — would begin to reopen the city’s economy.

“It’s great news for us,” Aiello said. “We can get our industries, our people back to work.”

Some businesses have already geared up, he said. Cutco Corp. in East Olean began going back to work on Monday, the mayor said, while other manufacturers of nonessential goods have been working on meeting reopening guidelines.

“We’ll get the rest of the manufacturers and groups in Phase 1 back at it,” Aiello said.

Aiello said that business owners need to visit forward.ny.gov for guidance on how to reopen, including lists of best practices and self-certification forms to indicate the business owners’ intents to follow the guidelines.

Businesses needing guidance on how to get through the paperwork have an option.

On Monday, Jamestown Community College announced it would provide training sessions and plan reviews for businesses and industries.

COVID-19 Safety Plan Development for Businesses, offered in two one-hour sessions from 2-3 p.m. on May 27 and June 3, will be conducted via the Zoom web platform. The registration fee is $99. To register, visit https://jamestowncommunitycollege.regfox.com/covid-19.

The course will provide participants with the tools and knowledge to develop a specific plan, policies, and procedures to safely re-open their workplace. Following an overview of the COVID-19 disease process and modes of transmission, participants will learn about prevention and control methods and how to perform a risk assessment of the workplace, write, review, and implement a COVID-19 control and prevention safety plan, and obtain additional resources.

The course is taught by Ralph Estep, an industry expert who will review participants‘ plan drafts and discuss areas for improvement. He holds degrees in safety science, occupational health and safety engineering, nursing, and chemistry.

The city government is also filling out the same types of forms, Aiello said, noting he has recalled staff that was ordered to work from home and he hopes to reopen city hall to public business in the near future. Limited hours are likely, he added, with hours expanding as the pandemic dies down even more.

“We have some things we need to do in the building,” the mayor said, including installing plexiglas shields in the water office, code enforcement, the auditor’s office and the assessor’s office. “Now it’s a matter of getting it all in place.”

Beyond getting people back to work, the mayor noted effort needs to be put toward restoring some sense of normality to life in the city.

“We’ve lost so much this summer already,” Aiello said, noting the Olean Oilers baseball season, the Fourth of July fireworks, the Gus Macker basketball tournament and other events have been canceled. “All of these things are draws to the city.”

The mayor does not expect to open playgrounds or the John J. Ash Community Center immediately, as those fall under Phase 4 of reopening.

“If we start it now, maybe we’ll be able to open it up for the end of June,” the mayor said, with the city’s summer youth program starting in July. He added he hopes that Little League and other youth sports may be able to have a season, as well. “But we need to be safe about it.”

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at bclark@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)

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