Three regions of NY will begin to reopen this Friday

Photo by Mike Groll, Courtesy of the Governor’s Office
May 11, 2020 – Irondequoit, NY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in Irondequoit.

The Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions have met criteria to begin phase one of the state’s reopening plan. 

Construction, manufacturing, retail for curbside pickup, forestry and fishing will resume this Friday, May 15 in these regions.

The North Country and Central New York are close to meeting the seven metrics outlined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and could begin their re-opening soon.

A “Regional Monitoring Dashboard” shows the status of each region of the state, and which metrics they have met, and which ones they have not.

In order to reopen, regions will have to meet seven metrics, which closely follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines: 

  1. There must be a 14-day decline in hospitalizations or fewer than 15 new hospitalizations, for a three-day average
  2. There must be a 14-day decline in hospitalized deaths, or under five new deaths, for a three-day average
  3. New hospitalizations must be less than two per 100,000 residents, for a three-day average
  4. The share of total hospital beds available must be at least 30 percent of total hospital beds in the area
  5. Share of available ICU beds must be at least 30 percent of available ICU beds in the region
  6. At least 30 residents per 100,000 residents in the area must be twisted monthly
  7. There must be at least 30 contract tracers per 100,000 residents or to meet current infection rate

The Governor’s Office has produced a 51-page booklet called “NY Forward” that serves as a guide for the public and local officials who are navigating the re-opening process. 

“This is the next big step in this historic journey,” Cuomo said. “First phase was to figure out what we were dealing with because we had no idea. Scramble, frankly, to deal with the situation that dropped from another planet. Stabilize, ramp up the health care system, inform people, get people to understand what we were dealing with and control the damage. That’s the mountain to me. We’re now on the other side of the mountain. 

“Next step, how do we reopen, how do we reopen intelligently and how do we reopen without taking a step back? What we have done thus far is really amazing. And it was because we were smart and because we were unified, and because we did that, we averted tragedy.”

In regards to retail, all stores will be allowed to do curbside pickup, drop-off or instore pickup. Essential retail that has been open all along will continue operating under current protocols. Low-risk businesses including landscaping, gardening, as well as low-risk recreational activities including tennis and drive-in movie theaters will also be opening. 

Businesses have to put safety precautions in place,” Cuomo said. “We understand what has to be done, how the workforce has to have personal protection. They have to be socially distant. The workspace itself in some cases has to be adjusted, reconfigured.” 

The governor stressed the importance of local governments staying in close contact with each other, saying that the virus “doesn’t respect county borders or state borders.” 

Cuomo praised New Yorkers for how they handled the virus outbreak in comparison to other states. Some states have reopened despite not meeting CDC guidelines, and the reopenings have been met with an influx of people from other states. Cuomo warned local governments in New York from opening up certain attractions that would cause something like that to happen in their region. 

The rest of the nation, the cases are still on the incline. That is because of what the people in this state did,” said Cuomo. “If you had said when we started this, yes we have more cases than anyone else, yes we had this European virus attack us and nobody expected it, but we are not only going to change our trajectory, we’re going to change the trajectory more dramatically than any place else in the nation. And when you look at the nation compared to New York you’re going to see us on the decline, the rest of the nation on the incline. People would have said it was impossible, but we did it. But we have to stay smart.”