Lt. Governor checks in on local businesses as the region is on the verge of Phase Three

Niagara County

NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)–Just five days before what could be the start of Phase Three, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul checked in on some Niagara County businesses.

The lieutenant governor visited Pine Avenue where more than 50 businesses remain boarded up as a precaution from last week’s protests. No widespread damage was seen in the Falls, so Virtuoso Upholstery is one business that plans to take the boards down soon.

“There were rumors going around that there was busloads of agitators coming in and a couple hundred dollars in boards is a lot cheaper than plate glass windows,” owner Thomas Virtuoso said.

Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino added, “assuming that next week Tuesday or do we are given the green light to go ahead with Phase Three in our region, I would anticipate that at this time next week you’ll see a broader expanse if businesses fully opened on Pine Avenue.”

“I’m out here to welcome businesses back, happy that we’re in Phase Two on the verge of Phase Three. The Finger Lakes went just a few day’s ahead of us but we’re really just a few days behind,” Hochul said.

The lieutenant governor also toured Lockport businesses.

Lockport Mayor Michelle Roman says, “they’re trying to have us reopen in a safe way so that we scan stay open over the long term.”

Shopping malls like the Walden Galleria have still not been allowed to open. The lieutenant governor says she hears these businesses loud and clear but explains why the state isn’t ready to allow that yet.

“You go to malls because you’re looking for crowds. That’s why you establish a business because there’ll be a lot of people walking through, congregating, socializing. Those are activities we don’t believe are safe in the state of New York, and I’m not just gonna say hang in there, I’m gonna say as soon as we are able we will notify them that they can reopen,” Hochul said.

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