A month ago, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, the prospects were bleak for the region's economy to reopen in the foreseeable future. COVID-related deaths and hospitalization rates seemed to be increasing on a daily basis.
"We were able to literally stop this virus in its tracks," Hochul told WBFO Tuesday morning. "People sacrificed tremendously" by remaining home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
On Tuesday, the Western New York region started Phase One of reopening its economy.
Hochul recalls following the metrics and worried the region was heading to an "uncontrollable" situation.
"We were concerned about overflooding our hospitals and the medical staffs that are already working so hard," Hochul said.
"What we saw happen in New York (City) really was on a trajectory to start a tsunami waving all away over upstate New York and crashing here in Western New York."
With most businesses shut down and officials issuing stern warnings, Hochul said, Western New Yorkers followed health guidelines, like washing hands and wearing masks in public. It's simple and effective, she said, but not easy.
"I am really pleased that because of the community's efforts that people listening to their government, which you never can count on always," Hochul laughed.
"But they trusted us and we trusted them to do the right thing and now, today, we are so excited to announce that the first phase of reopening is beginning."