200405 Signs of Times 1

No Virus seems to be the message painted on a hay bale alongside Robinson RoadFrom public services messages, notices of closure, curbside service and messages of hope, the signs of the times clearly point to a changing world.

Western New York has reached the seventh and final metric needed to move into the first phase of reopening which Gov. Andrew Cuomo said is expected to happen on Tuesday.

During a visit to Buffalo on Monday, Cuomo said the region's leaders needed to have 525 contact tracers in place in order to qualify for phase one reopening and he said they managed to find 525 individuals to perform contact tracing duties over the weekend. Cuomo said the new contact tracers are expected to begin their training on Tuesday.

"That means all the metrics will be hit and Western New York will open tomorrow," Cuomo said during his daily briefing on the state's response to COVID-19. "It's been a long painful period, but we start to reopen tomorrow."

Under phase one of reopening, 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.

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