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Bob Duffy on reopening phase 2: 'I advocate for this region every single day'

Berkeley Brean
Updated: May 27, 2020 06:19 PM
Created: May 27, 2020 06:13 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — So many people are gearing up for reopening phase two. That includes professional services, barbershops and hairdressers. 

The belief is that it will be Friday night, exactly two weeks since the reopening of phase one. But Wednesday, Bob Duffy, CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and the head of the reopening team for the Rochester Finger Lakes region pumped the breaks on that. 

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"There is no certainty whether it will start Friday or not. We don't know. We'll probably find out," Duffy said in Zoom news conference Wednesday afternoon. 

Here's the problem as Duffy describes it.

The infection rate in the region is starting to go down. 

But the hospitalization rate — the number of people in hospitals positive with COVID — is up. The main reason is our region is testing more people including asymptomatic people who enter a hospital for inpatient or outpatient procedures. 

The hospital rate is one of the metrics we need to pass. We still do but Duffy, the county health commissioner and the governor's team are watching it closely. 

Duffy says the governor's team is looking at our region's scorecard every day. He says he gives reopening plans and ideas to the governor's team every day. Duffy says he advises the governor's team, but he says reopening is ultimately the governor's call. 

Brean: "Bob you mentioned that you give the best advice you can give, that you give the information to the governor and ultimately up to the governor to make the decision. But when you give the governor this information, are you advocating for our region to reopen on phase two?"

Bob Duffy, CEO Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce: "Well, Berkeley, here's the thing: The governor is certainly advocating for reopening."

Brean: "Are you advocating for the region? Are you advocating the region?"

Duffy: "That is a question that doesn't even need to be answered. I advocate for this region every single day. Berkeley, of all the regions, what got announced first for reopening? The Finger Lakes region. We were the first ones to be announced reopened. Advocacy is working behind the scenes to try to provide data and logic to people that make decisions."

Duffy says to expect an announcement from the governor about phase two in the next two days. 

Brean: "Bob, don't the business owners who are in phase two, don't they have a right to know now that they can open Friday night or Saturday?"

Duffy: "Berkeley, that's not our call here. We're waiting for the phase two announcement. The governor has announced barbershops and salons. We're not sure who else will be there. Going back several weeks we have advised every business, I've done it publicly, I've done it in the media, Zoom meetings, go to meetings, email responses, we have advised every business: Don't wait for the announcement. Prepare your plans now."


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