NYS Government and Legislative Update – Regional Reopening Plan – 5.11.20

During his daily press briefing today, Governor Cuomo confirmed that this Friday, May 15, 2020, would mark the end of the statewide closure and outlined the un-PAUSE plan, whereby regions will begin reopening under a four-part phased-in reopening plan.  There are ten regions in the state.  A map delineating the regions can be found here.

The Governor announced that a region can un-PAUSE if all the following metrics are met:

  • 14-day decline in hospitalizations or under 15 new hospitalizations (3-day average)
  • 14-day decline in hospital deaths or fewer than 5 deaths (3-day average)
  • New hospitalizations – under 2 per 100,000 residents (3-day rolling average)
  • Share of total hospital beds available is over 30%
  • Share of ICU beds available is over 30%
  • For every 1,000 residents, 30 must be tested monthly (7-day average of new tests per day)
  • At least 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents

As of today, there are three regions that meet these seven metrics and can begin the first phase of reopening on Friday – Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, and Southern Tier.  More regions may be ready to open as of Friday as several are very close to meeting the seven outlined metrics, including Central New York.  To find information on your specific region and what metrics have been met, please use this link.

Local officials are going to be heavily involved to ensure that each region can meet the testing and tracing requirements, monitor the infection rate with hospitals, ensure business compliance, and communicate with other local governments to confirm the regional planning is successful.  Each region will also need a regional “control room” made up of top regional elected, academic and healthcare officials who will monitor progress and a have “circuit breaker” ready in case the numbers start to go back up.  A listing of the members for the regional control rooms can be found here

The Governor had previously announced these four phases that each region will contemplate:

  • Phase 1 – Construction, Manufacturing and wholesale supply chain and Select Retail for Curbside Pickup
  • Phase 2 – Professional Services, Finance and Insurance, Retail, Administrative Support and Real Estate/Rental Leasing
  • Phase 3 – Restaurants/Food services and Hotels/Accommodations
  • Phase 4 – Arts/Entertainment/Recreation, Education

In his briefing today, the Governor gave more detail on the businesses covered in Phase 1.  Phase 1 will authorize retail to do curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup, and essential retail that has remained open will continue to operate under the current protocols.  Other activities that will reopen in Phase 1 are construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chain, landscaping and gardening, agriculture, forestry, fishing, outdoor, low-risk recreational activities like tennis and drive-in movie theaters.  Even more detailed information on Phase 1 businesses that can reopen can be found here.

In order for a business in Phase 1 to reopen, it would need to establish certain safety precautions as outlined by the Governor in three areas.  The first area is protections for employees and customers and should include information on possible adjustments to workplace hours and shift design to reduce density in the workplace; enacting social distancing protocols and restricting non-essential travel.  The second area is changes to the physical workspace, including requiring facemasks for all customers and employees in close contact to wear facemasks and implementing strict cleaning and sanitation standards.  The third area is implementing processes such as screening individuals when they enter the workplace and reporting confirmed positive cases to customers.

The Governor made clear that each region will manage specific reopening decisions such as approval of these business plans, the timing of the May 15th reopening, the number of employees that can be present, etc.  The regions will also be making the decision on which specific businesses can reopen.  We anticipate that each region will begin to announce the process by which they will make these decisions, and we will share that information as it becomes available.

When asked about when Phase 2 will begin, the Governor indicated that it will be determined by the facts and data.  Previous indications imply that Phase 2 will begin two weeks after Phase 1, which is the recognized incubation period for Coronavirus, assuming there are no spikes in infection or hospitalization rates for regions that have begun to reopen.

The Governor has released the New York Forward Book, which provides an overview of where we’ve been and where we are going.  If you are interested, the book can be found here.

If you have additional questions or want to discuss the un-PAUSE plan, please reach out to a member of our Government Affairs practice group for assistance:

Amy J. Kellogg
John M. Jennings

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