New York began its re-opening process on May 16th when the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the Southern Tier, the Northern Tier, and Central New York became the first regions to begin re-opening. Since then, each of those regions have now entered Phase Three, which includes indoor dining at restaurants and personal care services such as nail salons. Below is the schedule for when Phase Three will begin in the other regions that are currently in Phase Two:
- Western New York – June 16th
- Capital Region – June 17th
- Hudson Valley – June 23rd
- Long Island – June 24th
New York City is the only region that is still in Phase One, which they began on June 8th. If their numbers continue to hold up, they will be able to enter Phase Two on Monday, June 22nd.
Since the re-opening began, New York’s COVID-19 numbers (new positives, hospitalizations, and deaths) have continued to decline. Because of the this, the Governor has announced new was of opening the valve during the re-opening process. To start, the Governor announced that restaurants are now allowed to provide outdoor dining during Phase Two with specific guidelines such as:
- Ensuring all tables with seats are placed 6 ft. from any other table, seat, patron, or pedestrian thoroughfare or corridor.
- Employees must wear face coverings at all times.
- Patrons must wear face coverings at all times, except while seated.
- All individuals seated at the same table must be from the same party (but can be from different households), with a maximum of 10 people per table.
- Closing all inside seating.
A detailed outline of the State’s guidelines for outdoor dining during Phase Two can be found here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/OutdoorTakeoutDeliveryFoodServicesSummaryGuidance.pdf
The Governor also announced that, beginning on July 6th, the State will allow low-risk youth sports during Phase Three. As of this writing, there are no published guidelines on the State website for this.
You can find guidelines for businesses included in the first three regions at the following links:
- Phase One Businesses: https://forward.ny.gov/phase-one-industries
- Phase Two Businesses: https://forward.ny.gov/phase-two-industries
- Phase Three Businesses: https://forward.ny.gov/phase-three-industries
Despite the Governor being pleased with the State’s continuing decline in COVID-related numbers, and slowly accelerating the re-opening process, he recently expressed concern about a lack of enforcement by the local governments. Specifically, the Governor has said that his office has received over 25,000 complaints about businesses not complying with the State’s guidelines, especially at bars and restaurants. Therefore, the Governor has warned bars and restaurants that if they do not comply with the State’s guidelines, they could lose their liquor licenses. He also warned individuals that, if they do not comply with social distancing and face covering rules, they could be subject to fines. Lastly, the Governor also told local governments that if they do not enforce compliance, the State could roll-back the re-opening process for various cities or regions around the State.
If you have any questions regarding the re-opening process and/or about whether you’re in compliance with the State’s guidelines for your specific business, do not hesitate to contact us directly.