May 4 Special Legislative Update

Shenker Russo and Clark LLP Legislative Update

Earlier today, the Governor held his daily press briefing on the status on the COVID-19 pandemic within New York State. During the briefing, the Governor provided more details regarding the State’s regional phased re-opening plan. To start, the Governor provided more requirements a region must meet before it will be allowed to re-open. Now, for a region to begin re-opening, it must meet the following requirements:

  • A region must have a 14-day decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations OR have under 15 new hospitalizations (3-day average).
  • A region must have a 14-day decline in COVID-19 hospital deaths or fewer than 5 deaths (3-day average).
  • A region must have under 2 new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents (3-day average).
  • A region must have at least 30% of total hospital beds available.
  • A region must have at least 30% of ICU beds available.
  • When it comes to testing, there must be 30 per 1,000 residents tested monthly (7-day average of new tests per day).
  • A region must have at least 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents

The Governor then specified which of the State’s ten regions are lower-risk and higher risk. The State’s lower-risk regions, that may possibly begin the phased re-opening on May 15th, are the North Country, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, Finger Lakes, and Southern Tier. The State’s higher-risk regions are Western New York, the Capital District, the Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island.

Finally, the Governor specified how the phased re-opening of businesses will work. Businesses will be allowed to re-open in four phases. The four phases are:

  • Phase One: Construction, manufacturing, wholesale supply chains, and select retail stores if they can provide curbside pickup.
  • Phase Two: Professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support, and real estate and rental leasing
  • Phase Three: Restaurants/Food service and Hotels/accommodations
  • Phase Four: Arts/Entertainment/Recreation education

When businesses re-open the Governor said they should implement several safety precautions to ensure they are protecting their employees from COVID-19. The precautions the Governor listed include:

  • Adjusted workplace hours and shift design.
  • Social distancing.
  • Non-essential travel restricted.
  • Masks required if in frequent contact with others.
  • Strict cleaning and sanitation standards.
  • Continuous health screening to enter the workplace.
  • Continuous tracing, tracking, and reporting.

It is currently unclear whether these precautions are suggestions from the Governor or will be mandated, and if mandated, how the State would plan to enforce them. We will continue to monitor the Executive’s remarks about the phased re-opening plan and provide you with any details we learn.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here for you.