ITHACA, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during his daily press conference on Monday that the five regions of the state that opened earlier, including the Southern Tier, will be allowed to enter phase three of reopening on Friday.

As the Voice reported on Tuesday, the state has issued guidance for regions after a confusing rollout to phase two, which angered many local officials.

“We have five regions that we have reviewed all the data, we have global experts that then go through the data…we have the best expoerts that you can possibly have reviewing it and five regions will enter phase three on Friday.”

Phase Three expands the operations of some businesses that may already be operating, like food services, restaurants and bars, to allow indoor seating. It also adds some personal care businesses including tattoo and piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, spas, cosmetology, nail specialty, UV and non-UV tanning, or waxing, according to state guidelines.

Tompkins County Director of Public Health Frank Kruppa said in a statement Thursday that residents should remain cautious, but that the steps the community had taken to date seemed to be working.

“As Tompkins County moves into phase three and more facets of our community are opening bringing people closer together it’s important to remember that COVID-19 is still spreading in our region and across the state and country. We have to keep taking actions to stop the spread. Please continue to act safely, wearing a mask and distancing as you go out,” said Kruppa. “New York State is tracking the daily test results to look at infection rate, while the Southern Tier’s infection rate remains very low, we need to do everything we can to keep it that way. I want to thank our community for continuing to do the right thing as we move forward.”

The governor agrees with Mr. Kruppa. Cuomo on Thursday warned that businesses flouting regulations could be setting themselves up for trouble.

“Follow the rules,” warned Cuomo. “You can lose your liquor license, you can lose your right to operate, so this is very serious — short-term gain is not worth long-term pain.”

Featured photo courtesy of the Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo