The Southern Tier region can enter phase three of reopening June 12, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced at a Monday press conference.
Indoor dining and food services as well as personal care services can now resume under specific state guidelines. Southern Tier joins Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley and North Country in entering phase three reopening.
Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa said residents should remain cautious even as life in the region slowly goes back to normal.
“As Tompkins County moves into phase three and more facets of our community are opening bringing people closer together it’s important to remember that COVID-19 is still spreading in our region and across the state and country,” Kruppa said. Tompkins County currently has 165 positive COVID-19 cases — the number of cases in the region hasn’t changed in the past week, even as testing has increased.
Restaurants can operate at a 50 percent capacity indoors, and all tables — indoors and outdoors — must be at least six feet apart or be separated by a physical barrier, according to the Tompkins County Health Department. Staff must wear masks and customers must do the same when not seated.
Additionally, up to 10 individuals, who can be from different households, can be seated at one table, but they must all be part of the same party. The county health department also encourages individuals to make reservations or order ahead when dining in.
Personal care services — which includes spas, tattoo parlors and nail salons — must also operate at a 50 percent capacity and maintain social distancing between individuals as much as possible. Employees also have to wear face coverings and waiting rooms will be closed.
Previously, real estate, in-store retail, vehicle sales and rentals, barbershops and hair salons as well as office buildings could reopen in a limited capacity under phase two.
Provost Michael Kotlikoff said in an email to Cornell faculty and staff on Thursday that phase three reopening was promising for Cornell’s reopening plans. New York City campuses are on a different timetable to reopen, as New York City just entered phase one reopening on June 8.
“This is an encouraging development for our community and regions that enables Cornell’s own staged approach to reactivating campus facilities in a safe, responsible and legal manner,” Kotlikoff wrote.
The phase three reopening guidelines allow for Cornell to reopen libraries for research purposes, as long as it is also in compliance with Cornell’s reactivation strategy and approvals process, Kotlikoff wrote in the email.
Kotlikoff still encouraged faculty and staff to work remotely even if they are allowed to return to campus, adding that the University will make a decision on the fall semester in the coming weeks and recommendations from reactivation committees will guide the University’s decision. The teaching reactivation and preparation for online teaching committees are expected to send their findings to President Martha E. Pollack on June 15.