CHENANGO COUNTY – On Friday, phase one of reopening New York was put into place. Chenango County Offices are reopening in phases to bring county workers back to work and restore public services.
Phase one will bring back administrative staff to departments such as Public Works, Social Services, and Behavioral Health. During phases two and three, more services will become available as DSS case workers and behavioral health counselors return to the office.
“In the first four phases, anyone who wants to conduct business with the county office building will have to make an appointment with the respective department or agency their going to see,” said Chenango County Director of Emergency Management Matthew Beckwith.
According to Beckwith, The county office workers will have to allow for time between scheduled appointments to allow for proper sanitation of their offices and workspace as an added measure to protect staff and the public.
Employees of the county office building will be able to enter and leave the building as normal, however the general public will be screened before entering for an appointment.
“The sheriff has graciously provided up to four deputies who are going to be monitoring the security of the building and allowing people access in and out of the county office building,” said Beckwith. “The general public will be screened prior to their entry to the county office building.”
Beckwith said the screening process will include a brief questionnaire about the individuals current health and temperature check conducted by the deputies. Once an individual has passed the screening process, a deputy will contact the respective department for the individuals appointment and confirm that the department is prepared to receive that individual.
In order to move through each phase, Beckwith said the department of health will be tracking testing results for COVID-19. For every two weeks that the numbers for testing stay within the state's guidelines for re-opening, the county will move into the next phase.
“Fourteen days will go by, we will be monitoring through the region the amount of testing we have to perform, the contact tracing that the DOH has to perform, we have to monitor the hospital ICU capacity and if everything goes fine within the region, then we will migrate to phase two,” said Beckwith.
“In the event that our regional numbers exceed the limitations or guidelines that have been set forth by the governor's office, we may be required to pause and stay within that phase or actually go backwards. So if we are in phase three and have to back to phase two, those offices will have to re-close,” said Beckwith.
For a complete list of county departments and in which phases they will be opening, watch the Commerce Chenango Webinar Phase One Reopening Guidelines and Strategies on YouTube at https://youtu.be/R-lww-NqgQ8.
President and CEO of Commerce Chenango Kerri Green discussed the different industries that will open in phase one. The industries include construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, select retail for curbside pick up, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.
Construction includes businesses such as building equipment contractors, highway and bridge construction, and utility system construction. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting supports activities such as animal production, greenhouse and floriculture production, and crop production. The manufacturing industry has also opened back up and includes the production of machinery, computers and electronics, as well as apparel and textiles.
“Manufacturing is a big area right here in Chenango County so I know a lot of people are getting back to work or are planning on getting back to work,” said Green.
Retail trade is for curbside pickup only. This includes but is not limited to clothing, jewelry, sporting goods, and furniture stores.
“They did say today that you can go into the store to pick up your order, you're just not supposed to be in the store shopping,” said Green.
“I did pull this off the governors website on May 13, they may have added a couple other bullets since I did this. I tried to be as up to date with this as I could but as I said their continuing to expand these subgroups under each industry to encompass everything. They're getting a lot of questions so when you see changes, moving from one day to another, it's really just to add some clarification. If you're not sure if your business falls in one of these four general industry sectors, please take a look online. The information is changing everyday,” said Green.
For more information regarding businesses and the phases they fall under visit Forward.ny.gov/indistries-reopening-phase.