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> COVID19 2020-05-16 In Reopening Tompkins County Residents Urged to Stay Vigilant

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director


Saturday, May 16, 2020

For media inquiries: Samantha Hillson, 607-274-6600,
For health inquiries: Community Health Services at 607-274-6604
For general inquiries (non-medical): Call 2-1-1 or 877-211-8667

Cayuga Health COVID-19 Sampling Site: 607-319-5708,
New York State Hotline for COVID-19: 1-888-364-3065

As Southern Tier Meets Reopening Criteria, Tompkins County Residents Urged to Stay Vigilant to Keep Community Healthy & Safe

(Ithaca, N.Y., May 16, 2020) — New York’s Southern Tier Region, including Tompkins County, has met the metrics set forth by Governor Cuomo for phased reopening of non-essential businesses. The reopening process of Phase One will begin as early as this weekend. Tompkins County Officials held a virtual town hall on Friday to share reopening updates with the community.

“People should feel encouraged that as a County and as a Region we’ve met the criteria set forth by the Governor; we have worked hard and thank the community. But, we do not want to be complacent, and we must continue following social distancing, mask-wearing, and handwashing guidance. As we begin phase one, the steps we take every day will impact our ability to move into future phases,” stated Frank Kruppa, Public Health Director.

Each reopening phase only includes certain identified industries; it is important businesses in each industry follow guidance from the State regarding when they will re-open. Today, New York State launched a tool for businesses to determine whether they are able to reopen.

“We’re following a phased approach so we can continue to monitor the metrics and be confident about moving on to the next phase. There is also an opportunity to go back to an earlier phase if we see an increase in cases. Our priority as a County is to keep everyone safe and healthy,” stated Leslyn McBean Clairborne, Chair of Tompkins County Legislature. “We all want things to get back to normal, and while we’re on that path, we have to accept that along the way we’ll be living with new norms and different ways of doing the things that we love. We all have to continue to act together so that we don’t put ourselves or others in harm’s way. Thank you to everyone for doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Due to the efforts of Tompkins County residents staying home and following local and state guidance, the spread of the virus has been slowed and lives have been saved.

County officials are urging residents to keep the community healthy and safe moving forward by considering the following:

  • DISTANCE: Even while more spaces and businesses begin to open, keeping at least 6 feet of distance between you and others continues to be an effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • DENSITY: As defined by the State, all non-essential gatherings of any size are banned until June 7. These include worship services, parties, celebrations, or other social events. It is important to consider how many people you may be around if you go out.
  • FACE COVERINGS: “My mask protects you, your mask protects me.” Everyone is required to wear a face covering when unable to maintain physical distancing. Face coverings are a proven way to stop the spread of COVID-19. As the weather improves, it is important to wear face coverings outdoors as well. Businesses should follow mask wearing guidelines set by New York State in the industry specific reopening guidelines.
  • HAND HYGIENE: Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, and consistently cleaning frequently touched surfaces can help to stop the spread COVID-19.
  • SYMPTOMS and TESTING: Monitor Your Symptoms for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or body aches, seek a test & stay home. Register to be tested at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site; online at or call 607-319-5708.

Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino stated, “The responsibility to reopen our community in a smart manner is on all of us as individuals. This disease is still affecting people in Tompkins County, and we must continue to be vigilant to keep ourselves and others safe. Even as we open, people should be wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart from others, and continuing to wash their hands frequently – these are keys to our success moving forward.”

Tompkins County has launched a new Moving Forward web page that will be updated as more information on reopening becomes available. The new page can be found here (

Additional Resources and Information:

Go to the Tompkins County Health Department website for information and updates.

Stay informed. Get updated information on COVID-19 at:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

The Tompkins County Health Department is your partner for a healthy community. Find us online at, and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TompkinsHealth.