Chairman says reopening guidance lacking

HUDSON—As Phase Two of the Capital Region’s reopening appears on track to begin next week, guidance from the state remains sketchy at best.

“This is a frustrating time for everyone, and we recognize that. While we are all glad to see the economy beginning to reopen under the four-phase New York Forward plan, I have definitely encountered a degree of frustration among business owners and those of us in local government as we attempt to navigate reopening guidance offered by New York State,” Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said in the county-issued Covid-19 update press release Wednesday, May 27.

“It seems that detailed guidance shows up right before the opening of a phase. Believe me, we in local government are just as frustrated with this as business owners are. Businesses are trying to prepare when there’s nothing much to prepare with in terms of guidance. It makes an already difficult situation that much harder,” Chairman Murell said in the release.

As an example, the chairman noted some local restaurants have interpreted Governor Cuomo’s decision to allow for gatherings of 10 people or less as a go-ahead to allow patrons to eat in an outside seating area. “Thatvis not the case. But given the lack of specific guidance, it’s not hard to understand how business owners can come to these types of conclusions,” he said.

In Columbia County, Columbia Comeback is the best resource for businesses during this critical time. Its website can be accessed at, Chairman Murell said.

Guidelines and templates relating to reopening plans can be found at

Also, New York State has recently added a “Reopening Tool,” designed to let businesses know when they may reopen in a particular region. It can be accessed at

Death toll stands

The toll of lives lost to the coronavirus in Columbia County stands at 32, according to county Department of Health (DOH) numbers listed as of May 27 at 3 p.m.

Through quality assurance, the DOH has identified some duplicates in total positive confirmed cases. Columbia County has received confirmed positive test results for 379 unique community members.

There are 140 active cases of the virus in Columbia County with 76 additional residents on mandatory quarantine and 5 residents on precautionary quarantine; 207 of the 379 confirmed positive cases have recovered from Covid-19; 17 of the positive cases are hospitalized, 1 of those hospitalized is in the ICU.

The DOH has categorized its test results by antibody and PCR tests. A total of 3,869 PCR test results and 1,044 antibody results, of which 119 were positive have been received by the department. Learn more at

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