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CNY businesses say they are ready to reopen once NYS gives the okay

Heritage Hill Brewhouse
Heritage Hill Brewhouse in Pompey, seen in this Sept. 2018 photo, is ready to reopen as soon as state and Onondaga County officials give the ok

As New York state's coronavirus numbers improve, officials are looking towards the restart and recovery of the economy, which has been decimated by the shutdown of most businesses in the state. Local businesses are coming up with plans for restarting, but how and when they go into effect are still an unknown.

The Heritage Hill Brewery is perched at the top of a hill in the town of Pompey, in the middle of a 300-acre farm. Owner Dan Palladino says that gives them a unique opportunity to reopen his brewpub-restaurant outdoors sooner rather than later.

"We have incredible spacing to put picnic tables," Palladino said. "We have outdoor ordering, outdoor bar, outdoor barbeque pit. It's our belief we could execute an outdoor model now and keep people as safe as they are now. And keep people as safe as they are in grocery stores."

Palladino has passed his detailed plan on to county officials, and wants to be considered in the first round of the reopening of business in New York state, which could come soon after May 15. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon is coordinating the regional plan for a restart. He and a special task force are listening to local businesses, but at this point can't give plans like Palladino's the green light.

"I would probably like that ability. But I don't have that ability. The President of the United States gave that ability to the governors.," McMahon said.

At this point, it's conceivable that central New York and neighboring regions, because of the rates of coronavirus spread and available hospital beds, could be the first areas in the state to open up for limited business. Manufacturing and construction are the first targeted areas for restart by the state.

But McMahon said other businesses are being considered in a regional plan that's being developed in central New York and the Mohawk Valley. He said this plan can't be scattershot, because how things go in an initial start up, impacts the whole state.

"When you're giving out guidelines on how to do your business in a safe way with COVID-19 being here in the community, don't just think about doing it here. Think about how to do it in New York City. Because that's what's really happening. Because if we go first, that's what's going to apply to the rest of the state," McMahon said.

Palladino said he gets that. But he also wants the decision-makers and politicians to pay attention to the differences in each kind of bar or bistro, and not use blanket strategies when it comes to bringing the economy back to life.

"Instead of saying you're opening up a certain industry, say, provide us your plan and if you submit a plan that makes sense, approve it monitor it, and go with it. As opposed to saying this is okay for grocery stores, this is okay for bars. Every business is different."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.