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Sorry, yard sales are a no-go, for now

People who want to get rid of their old clothes and knickknacks may have to wait a few more weeks.

Yard sales and garage sales are not currently allowed under the current state guidance for Phase 2 reopening, according to Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Shaun Gillilland. Gillilland is a member of the North Country region’s “control room,” a state-appointed advisory group tasked with keeping an eye on regional coronavirus data and offering feedback on reopening.

Yard sales are expected to be authorized to happen again in the final phase of reopening, Phase 4, according to Gillilland. The earliest the North Country region could enter that phase — which would include the reopening of schools and entertainment businesses such as concert venues — is Friday, June 26.

To trigger each new phase of reopening, the region has to continue to see a 14-day decline in net hospitalizations and deaths, the number of new people who are hospitalized needs to remain under two per 100,000 residents on average every three days, the total number of available hospital beds and intensive care unit beds needs to stay above 30%, there need to be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents or enough tracers based on the infection rate, and the number of tests processed needs to continue meeting a set threshold.

As of Thursday, the North Country region — which includes Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Jefferson counties — still hit all of those benchmarks.

The state has partnered with Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, and Samir Bhatt, senior lecturer at Imperial College London, to assess the state’s regional health data and determine whether or not it’s safe to move forward into new phases of reopening.

The next phase of reopening, Phase 3, could happen as soon as next Friday. Phase 3 would include the reopening of dine-in service at restaurants, bars, and other food services.

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