Western New York — including Cattaraugus and Allegany counties — will be under review to enter Phase 2 of reopening businesses and organizations this week.
No date was been set by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration for the implementation of Phase 2.
Businesses within that zone that would be permitted to reopen under Phase 2 include: offices; real estate; “essential” in-store retail; retail rental, repair and cleaning; commercial building management; hair salons and barber shops.
Barber shops and salons, upon reopening, will not yet be able to deliver the full range of services they traditionally offer. The cutting, coloring and styling of hair is permitted. Beard trimming, however, is not. Nor are nose hair trimming, facials, manicures and pedicures, makeup application, threading, tweezing or waxing.
Nail salons and tattoo parlors are not covered in the barber and salon guidelines put out by the state.
Western New York entered Phase 1 on May 19, with manufacturers, construction businesses, wholesale trade, agriculture, forestry and curbside pickup at retail outlets allowed.
With coronavirus deaths continuing to decline in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed hope Sunday that the state is approaching a level where fatalities are perhaps not eliminated but are very few.
The Associated Press reported there were 56 COVID-19 deaths in New York on Saturday, “which in this absurd reality we live in is very, very good news,” Cuomo said. While noting a slight uptick in the three-day average of new coronavirus hospital admissions, Cuomo said the number is declining overall.
Officials say nearly 24,000 people in the state have been killed by the virus, but that the true count is likely higher. The state’s figure doesn’t include another 5,800 deaths that New York City officials are attributing to the virus in that city.
Cuomo devoted most of his daily coronavirus briefing Sunday to discussing the ongoing protests against police brutality which, while mostly peaceful, have spurred violent outbursts that left police cars burned, businesses vandalized and hundreds of people arrested from New York City to Buffalo.
He speculated that the unrest might have been enhanced, in part, by pent-up frustration and agitation over coronavirus lockdowns.
Meanwhile, Cuomo said that dentists statewide can reopen Monday.
The governor said that dentists’ offices will be subject to state guidance on best practices for safety and social distancing. The move comes as the Cuomo administration slowly eases restrictions on economic activity in the state, region by region and industry by industry.
On Saturday, Cuomo signed a bill granting death benefits to the families of police officers, public health workers and other front-line workers who have died of the coronavirus.
“You gave your lives for us, we will be there for your families going forward,” Cuomo said as he signed the legislation at his daily briefing on the virus.
The bill passed by state lawmakers this past week provides an accidental death benefit that is more substantial than the regular death benefit that public workers’ families receive. Dozens of police officers, public health workers, transit workers and paramedics have died of COVID-19 in the months since New York became the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States.