On Monday, May 4th, the Governor announced the State’s full re-opening plan. The State will re-open on a regional and phased basis, which means that some of the State’s ten regions will be able to re-open before others. For the State to allow a region to re-open, it must meet the following seven 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
Once a region has met all the requirements for re-opening, it will begin to re-open businesses, which will happen in the following four phases:
- Phase One
- Manufacturing and wholesale supply chain
- Retail – curbside pickup
- Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
- Phase Two
- Professional Services
- Finance and Insurance
- Administrative Support
- Real Estate/Rental Leasing
- Phase Three
- Restaurants/Food Services
- Phase Four
The Governor has said that there will be a two-week monitoring period between each phase so that the State can monitor the effects each phase has on the region’s COVID-19 numbers. However, if a region’s numbers do not increase, or continue to decline, the Governor said that this timeline could be accelerated. Also, when businesses re-open, the Governor announced that businesses will be required to implement the following safety measures to protect their employees from COVID-19:
- Adjusted workplace hours and shift design.
- Social distancing.
- Restriction of all non-essential employee travel.
- Masks will be required if in frequent contact with others.
- Strict cleaning and sanitation standards.
- Continuous health screening of employees when entering the workplace
- Continuous tracing, tracking, and reporting of cases.
- Developing liability processes.
At the time of this writing (Wednesday, May 13th), the Governor announced that four regions have met all seven of the requirements and can begin to re-open on Saturday, May 16th. Those regions are the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the Southern Tier, and the North Country. The Governor also announced that specific businesses will re-open on a statewide basis beginning Saturday, May 16th. Those businesses are landscaping and gardening, low-risk outdoor recreational activities (i.e. tennis), and Drive-In movie theaters. Lastly, the Governor announced that, now that the State will begin to re-open on a regional basis, it is the responsibility of local governments to ensure that testing and tracing remain in place, monitor the COVID-19 infection rate with hospitals, ensure businesses are complying with the announced safety precautions, communicate with other local governments are operate their Regional Control Rooms. The Regional Control Rooms are groups of regional officials who are tasked with monitoring and controlling both the virus, and the re-opening, within each region, while also ensuring there is a circuit breaker ready if the region’s COVID-19 numbers begin to increase during the re-opening process. Below are some useful links regarding the State’s re-opening plan and where each of the regions stand in meeting the requirements to re-open:
- The Governor’s full NY Forward: A Guide to Reopening New York & Building Back Better: https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/NYForwardReopeningGuide.pdf
- The State’s Regional Monitoring Dashboard: https://forward.ny.gov/regional-monitoring-dashboard
- Daily Hospitalization Summary by Region: https://forward.ny.gov/daily-hospitalization-summary-region
- Members of the Regional Control Rooms: https://forward.ny.gov/members-regional-control-rooms
During his daily press briefings, the Governor has continued to stress that the State’s re-opening will be a slow process that will require a lot of work. Because of this, there will likely be regions of the State that will not be completely re-open for State’s Primary Elections. Despite this, the Governor announced, late last month, that the State will still be holding Primary Elections on June 23rd. However, he has amended his Executive Order 202 to allow all New Yorkers to vote by absentee ballot. The Governor’s Executive Order mandates the State Board of Elections to mail every New Yorker a postage-paid application for an absentee ballot.
Finally, because the State’s re-opening is expected to take time, the Governor announced on May 7th, that the State will provide additional rent relief for New Yorkers. Specifically, the Governor announced that the State will be extending its moratorium of evictions until August 20th, an additional 60 days. Also, the Governor announced that, during this time, the State will be banning late payments or fees for missed payments, and that renters will be allowed to use their security deposits as payment of their rent.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the State’s re-opening plan and/or the safety precautions you will need to put in place when you re-open, do not hesitate to contact our office.