October 21, 2021

Open with caution, Cortland says

County residents glad with reopening, but wary about safety

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Brent Bishop walks his dog on Greenbush Street in Cortland on Monday. Bishop and other residents of Cortland and nearby counties shared a mixture of optimism and caution with the state’s reopening plans.

Brent Bishop took advantage of Monday’s warm and sunny weather to walk his dog, Karl — a black pug and spaniel mix — down Greenbush Street in Cortland.

As an electrician who has recently come off a furlough, he said he was happy to see things start to return to normal.

“I’m glad that some things are getting back open,” he said. It beats staying inside all day during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bishop and other residents of Cortland and nearby counties shared a mixture of optimism and caution in response to the state’s reopening phases.

The state has been in Phase 1 of the four-phase plan since May 15, allowing the reopening of businesses in manufacturing, construction, agriculture and retail in curbside or in-store pick up.

Also, Cuomo said Sunday on Twitter that professional sports leagues can begin spring training and that veterinarians could reopen statewide Tuesday.

Bishop said he was happy with the reopening phases as long as business owners still take safety precautions.

“I hope the right precautions are being made and those steps are being taken by those businesses to make sure things stay clean,” he said.

He cited Gio’s Barber Shop in Cortland as an example — salons and barber shops would open in Phase 2. The shop posted a video on its Facebook page detailing the steps it will take to keep the store clean and reduce the spread of the virus, he said.

Bishop said he looks forward the most to seeing friends in public again.

“It will be nice to see some of the people I haven’t seen in a long time,” he said.

Walking down James Street in Homer, Margaret Snogles said the plans for the phases were good.

“I, personally, feel erring on the side of caution is a good route to go,” she said. “I do hope they can speed up certain things for businesses,” worrying how small businesses would fare financially.

“If they want to maintain social distance and open, they should be allowed to do so,” said Larry Snogles, Margaret Snogles’s husband. “And if they can’t do it, they would have to shut down. But they should be given a chance.”

Margaret Snogles said she particularly wants to see Dasher’s Corner Pub reopen to full business as it has been a routine for her and her husband to get lunch there on Sundays.

Caleb Kannus of Dryden shared a similar view as he hiked Monday with his wife, Allison Kannus and their daughter Ida at Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortlandville.

“I think the approach itself is cautious, so it’s more or less in line with how I feel about it,” he said, although he has been disturbed at seeing a large number of people at grocery stores, Caleb Kannus said.

“I think the phases are a good idea,” Allison Kannus said. “I think it’s good to do a gradual reopening but like Caleb, I worry that people have a false sense of security with the phases.”

As the phases go on, Allsion Kannus said she may be worried that a false sense of security will grow worse and people won’t practice social distance and other coronavirus precautions as diligently.

Reopening though will help people’s mental health, she said. “It’s really, really hard for people to feel like they can keep doing this so if we don’t have some lights at the end of the tunnel, people will start not being safe.”