Coronavirus Update, June 25, 2020

When the Southern Tier enters phase 4 of reopening Friday, low-risk arts and entertainment facilities like museums, historical sites, zoos, botanical gardens, and art galleries will be able to open -- under some restrictions. Phase 4 also allows the opening of film and tv production, higher education, professional sports without fans. In addition, gatherings of up to 50 people, and religious gatherings of up to 33 percent capacity will be allowed. Indoor capacity must not exceed 25% of maximum occupancy, and everyone must wear face coverings, and maintain 6 ft. of social distance. Hand sanitizer stations must be available throughout the facility. Additionally, high-risk interactive exhibits must remain closed, including those requiring visitors to touch or wear objects. 

The Ithaca Journal reports that gyms, movie theaters, shopping malls, arcades, casinos, and indoor concerts will remain closed during this phase. All outdoor events must abide by the state’s nonessential gathering limit, which will be up to 50 people. 

New York Governor Cuomo's senior adviser and spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, says certain types of businesses and institutions are difficult to fit into specific phases, and need to be researched further. 

Alex Haley Pool in the Northside of Ithaca will be opening after Purity Ice Cream and the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County donated $90,000 to the city. The money will pay for the 10 necessary lifeguards at the pool, making it possible for the pool to open as early as the end of next week.

The  Ithaca Voice reports that Mayor Svante Myrick told Jean McPheeters of the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County that it would cost $80,000 to open the pool. The foundation raised $10,000 and Purity donated $80,000. 

Myrick says upcoming efforts will now move towards reopening the Cass Park pool, which needs $200,000 to hire around 22 lifeguards. 

Tompkins County will be receiving over $7 million dollars to contribute to transportation services that were negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The funding is coming from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or (CARES) Act. 

The Ithaca Voice reports that the Federal Transit Administration has allocated the money to go towards operational support and maintenance costs for the different transit systems in Tompkins County. The Tompkins County Consolidated Area Transit, or TCAT, has run throughout the pandemic, but has not been collecting fares. The increased funding will ensure the systems can continue to function as the region reopens. 

Looking to COVID-19 case numbers, the total number of confirmed cases stands at 166 as of yesterday in Tompkins County. According to the Tompkins county health department, 165 of those patients have recovered. According to the Schuyler County health department, all 14 people in the county infected with the virus have recovered.

Hospitalizations related to the coronavirus have fallen under 1,000 in New York state for the first time since March, according to Spectrum News. 

People traveling from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah, and Texas will now have to quarantine for 14 days if they enter New York in an attempt to keep the case numbers down. 

Contributing writing by WRFI News interns Jon Donville, Tessie Devlin, and Phoebe Harms