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Supervisor's Corner: COVID-19 as We Enter May 2020

By Webster Town Supervisor Tom Flaherty

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It’s hard to believe we are only in week 7 of COVID-19. It feels more like 7 months! So much of what has transpired since mid-March came so fast and furious. It challenged our normal time frames, mentally and psychologically, of hearing about change, processing it, and accepting and adapting to it. It has been analogous to the five stages of grief, but with the difference that you were dealing with all five stages at once.


The past few weeks have settled us into the “new reality.” This has come with a new dynamic as well, with two distinct ends of the spectrum of thought. Some feel that the shutdown measures of the government are too draconian for the number of cases and deaths that have occurred. They have taken to the streets in protest to “open back up immediately.” On the other end of the spectrum, some feel that we should not open things back up to the way it was prior March 2020 for 2+ years. Search the internet for podcasts and articles and you will have your full on both ends of this spectrum of thought. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

New York “on pause” is currently effective through May 15 at the time I write this article. Governor Cuomo’s executive orders that “shut down” the state were broad brush and painted Monroe County in the same light as New York City. As we all know, New York City is the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths in the United States... and Monroe County is very different demographically from New York City. We can armchair quarterback and second guess the Governor’s broad brush shutdown of the state all we want, but the dye is cast. We need to look beyond it now to the future and “how we will open back up.”


The good news is that occurrences of the past two+ weeks portend that the opening up of New York State will be handled very differently than the broad-brush close down. Random Antibody testing has shown that Upstate New York is less affected than New York City. The Governor has named Bob Duffy to head up the effort to assess how to open up Monroe County and contiguous 8 counties.


Simply said... I’m hopeful that regions/counties in New York will be given the latitude to open back up at their discretion based on the COVID-19 results in their specific community. Two things on this... 1. I would assume the Governor will need to issue another executive order that articulates this county/region specific opening up latitude, and 2. You can rest assured, the opening up will not be all at once to return to prior March 2020 conditions. Such things as public building occupancy maximums, social distancing, and facial covering conditions will most likely be tied to a phased-in, opening-up schematic.


Stay tuned for more details as they arise.


As always, feel free to call me at (585) 872-7068 or e-mail me at supervisor@ci.webster.ny.us with any questions or comments. STAY POSITIVE, WEBSTER! WE WILL PERSEVERE!

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