With just a handful of hours remaining until the Mohawk Valley Region enters Phase 2, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente admits there is still confusion and a lack of guidance from New York State on what 'personal services' are cleared to open on Friday.

''[We're] right on target for Phase 2. Our numbers are right, our timing has been right, so there is no reason we cannot enter Phase 2 tomorrow,'' Picente said during Thursday's briefing. He said Oneida County and the Mohawk Valley Region have met all the indicators set forth by Governor Cuomo to proceed to the second phase.

The county executive said his office continues to get questions about the ability of salons, barbershops and stylists to open their businesses Friday. However, Picente said if the governor is on the fence about those services, he's likely waited too long to change his mind.

''I know many of them are scheduled to open [tomorrow] - I'm not sure - I don't know that that can be stopped. I would tell all the businesses that are awaiting state guidance to continue to look on the state website...as soon as we have updated information we will get it out to you.''

Picente said Governor Cuomo himself said on May 15 that barbershops and salons were part of Phase 2, and said Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted the same shortly after the Cuomo's comments.

Both have been mum on those specific 'personal service' businesses since.

While there are guidelines for many businesses posted at OCGOV.net, Picente noted they are industry guidelines - not state guidelines - and, therefore, are not mandatory rules, rather best practices.

One of the biggest questions related to 'guidelines' from the start involves capacity.

Do barbers have to limit capacity in their shops to 25%? 50%?...75?

As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, those and other questions were still unanswered.

Prior to expressing his frustration with the missing direction from the state, Picente updated Oneida County's coronavirus numbers. There were 17 new positive cases to report and no new deaths.

Picente said one of the positive new cases announced Wednesday was removed from the total following further investigation.

To date, Oneida Couty has had 952 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 46 deaths attributed to the virus. Of the 46 deaths, 33 are linked to nursing homes (72%).



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