Rep. Tom Reed and state officials celebrate reopening, say businesses can and should get back to work


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Republicans Rep. Tom Reed and State Sen. Rich Funke met with other state officials for a press conference on Tuesday, saying they are celebrating the reopening of the area.

“As we go forward on this journey, our goal is to continue to build up that collaboration and agreement and cooperation and to continue opening up in the additional phases that we have in front of us,” Reed says. “We make sure that the regions meet those metrics to stay open. That is the fundamental goal, moving forward.”

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Rochester and the Finger Lakes region met all seven of the requirements to begin phase one, and can start reopening when the NY on PAUSE mandate expires on Friday.

“This is a public health crisis at its heart. So, we should treat it in that fashion as we go forward. What that means, to me, is that we need flexibility and be able to have dynamic response to the issue.”

Also in attendance, Sen. Funke says people are excited to get back to work and that reopening is reason to celebrate. “We have a better appreciation, through this experience the past couple months, about what other people do in their lives and how important they are to the fabric of society.”

The press conference was held at Alliance Precision Plastics. Funke says that, while continuing its operations through the whole pandemic, the businesses adjusted with social distancing protocols and haven’t had any cases of COVID-19. He encouraged those who are able to open up Friday to do so safely, saying it can be done.

Funke says he would like to see “a little more common sense” when it comes to reopening. “I don’t see a big difference between Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond. I don’t see a big difference between Wegman’s and Khols, so people should be able to get their shops up and running.”

“For people who have lost loved ones, the state didn’t do enough; for people who have lost jobs and business, the state overreacted.”

Funke says it’s time to take some of the powers away from the governor. Sen. Pam Helming agreed, and says she introduced legislation to repeal the governor’s executive powers. “It allows the $40 million to remain to be used for COVID-19-related issues, but it does reign in that power.”

Reed says in order to help relieve the financial burden, money has to go directly from the federal government to local governments. “It is clear to me that the impact on the community across the country are a direct result of the revenue loss in association with the shutdown orders. So what we’re trying to do is recognize that you’re going to have to take care of local government with direct assistance from the federal government.”

“That $150 billion—it was clear that it was for the state to share that resource with local government, and that did not happen in New York, though it did happen in other states.”

Reed says opening up now is not premature and can be done safely. With many people struggling to get unemployment pay because of the backlog of files the state is dealing with, the officials say that the only thing that will truly help the economy is getting people back to work.

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