Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that Western New York has now reached six out of the seven metrics needed to begin the first phase of reopening.
During his daily briefing on the state's response to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Cuomo said the region still needs to add more personnel who will be responsible for following up on positive cases as part of the process known as contact tracing.
The region as a whole, which includes Niagara County, still needs a total of 521 contact tracers to be able to move into the phase one reopening. Cuomo said the region still needs to add another 352 contact tracers to qualify.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was assigned to oversee the reopening committee for Western New York, touted Sunday's announcement as a sign that the region is heading in the right direction.
"We are making progress," she said in a Tweet on Sunday.
Under phase one of reopening, Cuomo said residential and commercial construction can resume in the regions that have met the benchmarks. The first phase allows for indoor and outdoor work although masks must be worn by all individuals who are working within 6 feet of each other. Employers must provide masks. Congregate meetings are still no longer allowed.
In regions that have reached phase one, retail businesses can open for curbside pickup or in-store pickup. Customers must order ahead and social distancing is required in stores. Patrons and staff must wear masks in stores and store owners must make sanitizer available.