Chemung County business in the Orange Zone reopens despite governors orders

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — Chemung County is entering it’s 11th week in the Orange Zone. Many businesses have closed their doors for good after being severely impacted financially.

The restrictions were originally planned to be in place for two weeks in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“We understand there’s a lot of restaurants that have lost money or very upset,” said Christopher Moss, Chemung County Executive. “A lot more are on the verge of having to go out of business. That’s why we filed a lawsuit against the governor to see some type of decision get made. Hopefully it will in the near future.”

Restaurants in the county have become frustrated and decided to reopen this week. BC Texas Hots Restaurant in Elmira Heights is one business who has opened their doors for indoor dining on Monday.

“This is the last straw and I’m down fund—funds are depleted,” said Michael Woodard, Owner of BC Texas Hots Restaurant. “You know I haven’t got any of that stimulus. I haven’t got loans. I’ve got nothing. It’s just basically hoping the community comes out and supports us.”

Woodard said community members and other business owners came to support their indoor dining reopening on Monday.

“We’ve been there for the community so now that they came today,” Woodard said. “They supported us it’s been great.”

Moss told 18 News, the county does not have the man power to enforce orange zone violations.

“As far as enforcing any of those orange zone violations, we simply don’t have the resources right now,” said Moss. “We’re pulling further resources from other county departments just to facilitate the vaccination process.”

The restaurant is still at risk of getting an expensive fine for their violation from the state.

“We can’t do this any longer, it’s not fair that you can go half mile up the road and have full dining and you can’t do it down here, just not fair,” Woodard said. “If they want to come in and take away small businesses, I’m done. That’s that’s it for me I’ll close up and there won’t be no more BC Texas for us.”

18 News did reach out to the Governors Office and the Lieutenant Governors Office for comment but did not hear back.

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