More Guidelines For When New York Regions Can Reopen
Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined additional guidelines that must be met for parts of the state to start to reopen on May 15.
On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced regions can start to reopen if the guidelines are met. The state will monitor four core factors to determine if a region can re-open:
- New Infections: Based on guidelines from the CDC, regions must have at least 14 days of decline in total net hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average. In regions with few COVID cases, the region cannot exceed 15 net new total hospitalizations or 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average. In order to monitor the potential spread of infection in a region, a region must have fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per 100,000 residents per day.
- Health Care Capacity: Every region must have the health care capacity to handle a potential surge in cases. Regions must have at least 30 percent total hospital and ICU beds available. This is coupled with the new requirement that hospitals have at least 90 days of personal protective equipment stockpiled.
- Diagnostic Testing Capacity: Each region must have the capacity to conduct 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month. The state is rapidly expanding capacity statewide to help all regions meet this threshold.
- Contact Tracing Capacity: Regions must have a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents, and additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in the region. The state is currently building an army of contact tracers with Mayor Bloomberg to meet the needs of each region statewide.
Live Updates: Coronavirus in the Hudson Valley
Cuomo also outlined which industries and businesses can open in each phase of the state's re-opening plan. Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered "less essential" or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area, officials say.
Businesses will reopen in four phases. Phase 1 includes construction, manufacturing, and select retail with curbside pick-up. Phase 2 includes retail, real estate and finance. Phase 3 will allow restaurants and hotels to reopen. Phase 4 includes entertainment venues and schools.
Cuomo previously said each phase will last two weeks.
The governor also outlined new safety precautions that each business must put in place upon re-opening to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. Businesses will be required to:
- Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace;
- Enact social distancing protocols;
- Restrict non-essential travel for employees;
- Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others;
- Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards;
- Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace;
- Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and
Develop liability processes.
"While we continue to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we can begin to focus on re-opening, but we have to be careful and use the information we've learned so we don't erase the strides we've already made," Cuomo said. "Re-opening is not going to happen statewide all at once - New York has diverse regions and those regions have different circumstances, so rather than wait for the whole state to be ready to re-open we are going to analyze the situation on a regional basis. We will measure whether a region can re-open based on four factors - the number of new infections, health care capacity, diagnostic testing and contact tracing - and we will continue to monitor these factors throughout the re-opening process to prevent a second wave of the virus and protect the health and safety New Yorkers."