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Latimer’s Westchester County Reopening Task Force Talks the Shift Into Phase Two

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Headed by both government and industry leaders, the county executive’s new panel is set to help shepherd the county back from pandemic shutdown.

County Executive George Latimer announced recently the formation of the Westchester County Reopening Task Force – a group whose mission is to find solutions surrounding the needs of local businesses as they begin to work through the four phases of reopening to a post-coronavirus economy.

“What we have here is a group of individuals who have served in a variety of capacities, to serve in this particular capacity, to help organize our efforts to reach out to the businesses of Westchester County and do everything we can to help them reopen as fast as possible and as successfully as possible,” says Latimer.

The new task force, co-chaired by Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker and local business owner Louie Lanza, will play a crucial role in corresponding proper guidelines and practices to businesses, nonprofits, and organizations as the county confronts each phase in the return to normalcy.

“This is an important challenge,” says Ben Boykin, the Board of Legislators Chairman for Westchester County. “We are in a place we have never been before and we must reopen in a more vibrant and smarter way so businesses can survive, grow and move to the next level.”

The task force has specialized working groups which focus on critical areas such as healthcare, labor, hospitality, general business, and more, as well as to allow all business owners in the county to voice their input.

The Reopening Task Force, composed of 26 representatives from different business sectors across the county, met for the first time on Thursday June 4, via Webex, where they discussed their sector-specific concerns as well as the precise guidelines and daily procedures that come with reopening businesses as the county moves ahead from Phase One into Phases Two and Three.

“We’re going to have a lot more people returning to offices along with beauty parlors reopening and restaurants that are working to define how their business will function with an outdoor dining presence and no indoor dining presence,” says County Director of Economic Development Bridget Gibbons. “I think Phase Two is going to be revealing and challenging because of the volume of people that are going to be closer to each other, and I think that the businesses that I’ve talked to are getting ready to go, and they are ready to do it safely and successfully.”

Watch the full press conference below.