Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul comments on changes to the state’s guidance on what can reopen in Phase 4


LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB)–One day before Phase 4 begins in Wyoming and Genesee counties there are several businesses still unable to reopen.

We had the chance to ask Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul about that in Lancaster.

Dignitaries were gathered in the Village of Lancaster to break ground on a $14 million project to extend the historic West Main Street, but attention soon turned to the issues of reopening after COVID and why shopping malls, theaters and gyms are still not allowed to open at the start of Phase 4.

“I know there’s tremendous pressure and there’s a lotta angst and frustration. I get it, I truly do and I wish I could give people the answer they want,” Hochul said. “But that would be irresponsible and the Governor and I have not followed that path from the very beginning. We’ve had to make tough decisions that a lotta people may not agree with but right now at the end of June, you cannot argue with the results.”

Even the YMCA says it’s bad enough not being able to open for fitness activities, but with the Turkey Trot, it’s biggest fundraiser, already coming into question for November, it affects the viability of YMCA programs.

“We’re frustrated and dismayed to be honest,” Jeff Falkner of YMCA Buffalo Niagara said. “We have been running emergency child care for the past three and a half months without incident and safely. So if we can run those programs, I think we’re well prepared. We have emergency plans in place and we have reopening plans in place to open on a cautious basis.”

With shopping malls like the Walden Galleria still closed, the Pyramid Management Group put out a statement saying, “the quality of overall air circulation in our shopping centers, which also benefit from considerable open and airy corridors, is as good or better than those venues that have been allowed to re-open.”

Hochul added, “a mall by its nature is a large gathering space. They have seating, they have food courts. By nature they’re trying to draw people there and keep them there for a long time. That is the difference that the governor is studying right now and how we make that environment safe.”

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