Lawmakers hear concerns from winery owners in Yates County as they stare down devastating economic fallout from pandemic

As the phased reopening of the region’s economy commences on Friday, a lot of questions remain about when the tourism space will be able to make that happen.

As the Yates County Legislature met on Monday, much of that session was dedicated to tourism talk.

“We need to be proactive in reopening our Yates County economy,” Milo town Supervisor Leslie Church. The Finger Lakes Times reports that the legislature heard from county Director of Public Health Deb Minor, county Economic Developer Steve Griffin, and Yates Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jessica Bacher.

The subject? Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to allow the Finger Lakes region to begin reopening.

In that phased approach, Suzy Hayes from Miles Wine Cellars says it could crush wineries, breweries and other staples of the regional economy. That’s because all of those businesses would be last to reopen.

“Memorial Day may be wrecked,” Hayes said during the session. “We would request to be put in phase two instead of phase three.”

She called the volume that her business, and others in the region are doing via curbside pickup ‘pathetic’, and pointed out that it wouldn’t be enough in the long-term.

At the time of the meeting, Yates County only had 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than 400 negative tests.


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