OSWEGO — Central New York entered the third phase of New York’s post-shutdown economic restart Friday, marking a dramatic step forward for small businesses and a boon to the local economy.

CNY joined four other regions — Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier — in Phase 3 Friday. The next step in the state’s New York Forward re-opening plan applies to restaurants, which can move past the outdoor seating and takeout-only model to offer indoor seating and service, and personal care services, such as tattoo and piercing shops, massage therapy, spas and nail and tanning salons.

Phase 3 should be a welcome relief for struggling small businesses, but local officials urge residents to continue protecting themselves and others diligently from the coronavirus.

“Phase 3 is a big step for our local economy as we continue to reopen,” Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow told The Palladium-Times on Friday. “We must continue to be smart and cognizant of our activities and socially distance to control our numbers, but I believe we’re in a great position as our data improves as we continue to open more and more.”

Barlow applauded the local business owners who found creative ways to survive through the extended economic shutdown, and community members who helped flatten the curve and put the region in a position to enter Phase 3 in a swift manner.

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