Report: Gyms, Malls, Movie Theaters Will Not Open As Part Of Phase 4

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SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – State officials told members of the state’s regional control rooms Tuesday that gyms, shopping malls, and movie theaters will not be included in Phase 4 of reopening, which several regions of the state will be eligible to begin Friday.

The Albany Times Union reported that state budget director Robert Mujica told members of the control rooms during a conference call Tuesday afternoon. A person on the call told the Times Union that decision on specific industries would be made over the coming weeks and months.

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar tweeted Tuesday that the Southern Tier region had been cleared to begin Phase 4 Friday. But he did not indicate what businesses would be opening.

In a statement on Twitter Tuesday, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said “outdoor and lower risk indoor activities” would be authorized to reopen as part of Phase 4, including “movie and film production, museums, aquariums, and zoos, at 25% capacity.”

A security car cruises the almost empty parking lots of Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., Wednesday, March 18, 2020. New Jersey expanded coronavirus mitigation efforts, ordering indoor malls and amusement centers closed, adding to the theaters, casinos, gyms and dining rooms it ordered shuttered earlier this week. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“Unfortunately at this time, outdoor theme parks, malls, gyms, and movie theaters have not yet been cleared to reopen at the beginning of Phase 4,” McCoy said.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon has been pushing for malls to reopen. Destiny USA in Syracuse is one of the largest drivers of sales tax revenue in the region. He indicated as recently as Monday, that malls and gyms would be allowed to reopen, with restrictions, with Phase 4.

McMahon said Monday he also hoped the state would increase capacity at churches. Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said Tuesday that state will increase capacity at churches, but he said he didn’t know by how much.

During a Zoom call with the media Tuesday, former Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy, who is on the Rochester-Finger Lakes control room, indicated that gyms, malls and movie theaters may start to open during Phase 4. Each phase has lasted two weeks.

In a tweet Tuesday evening, senior advisor to the Gov. Cuomo Rich Azzopardi said “there are some things that don’t fit neatly and are going to require further study and we’re going through that right now. We’re not going to be like other states that are inviting a second wave.”

But McMahon, in a tweet Tuesday night, said discussions with the governor’s office would continue thrhough the week.

“Phase 4 was scheduled to start on Friday. A lot can happen between now and then,” he said. “We will continue to make the case that malls, gyms, movie theatres, bowling alleys can safely open.