The second phase of reopening the Southern Tier and other regions of upstate New York after the lengthy pandemic shutdown has been put on hold by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar late Thursday blasted the unexpected delay by Cuomo, tweeting: "This is absolutely frustrating."

The initial phase to reopen the economy of five regions closed in March to control the spread of COVID-19 started May 15.

Some limited barbershop and hair salon services, along with office-based jobs and real estate services are to be permitted in the second phase.

Garnar and other local government officials were expecting the next phase to start Friday because it appeared the criteria set by Cuomo had been met.

But the governor this week refused to publicly release specific guidelines on the transition to the next reopening phase.

Cuomo addressed the issue briefly during a radio interview Thursday afternoon when he said "international experts" will analyze "all the data points" to determine whether individual regions could proceed with the reopening process.

Garnar learned in an evening conference call that Phase Two was being delayed.

In his Twitter message, the county executive said: "The people of Broome County did everything they were asked to do."

Garnar concluded: "Our local businesses cannot wait any longer."

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com

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