WATERTOWN — The Thompson Park zoo can open. The Salmon Run Mall cannot.
Scott A. Gray, chairman of the Jefferson County Legislature, announced on Friday night that Phase IV of the reopening the economy begins Friday.
Mr. Gray, a member of the control room, a group of officials from surrounding counties overseeing the reopening of the north country, said they learned that the state’s final phase would be implemented on Friday. Many of the region’s most popular attractions will reopen at one-third capacity. The “essential gatherings” numbers will be increased from there, he said.
As part of Phase IV, the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, Boldt Castle, Singer Castle and botanical gardens get the go ahead. The zoo will wait until Saturday to open.
Malls, gyms, movie theaters and others entities will remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The state does not have a Phase V, so they will wait for further state guidance review and will open at dates to be specified, but not necessarily waiting another two-week period, Mr. Gray said.
“There is tremendous concern with what is happening around the country and in an effort to avoid dialing back the process, high-risk activities will experience a slower process forward and further evaluation,” Mr. Gray said.
In explaining Phase IV, Mr. Gray suggested people should look at coronavirus models on rt.live that show the number of COVID-19 cases increasing throughout the country.
For weeks, local zoo officials have been waiting for the news to open.
The owners of the mall in Watertown have been lobbying Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to open the common areas of the mall to shoppers. Only stores with exterior entrances are now allowed to be open under state guidances in Phase III.
Recently, Gov. Cuomo said he wasn’t sure shoppers would follow social distancing rules in a mall setting.