Over the past few days, Governor Cuomo has provided more information on New York’s plan to un-PAUSE. He announced yesterday that starting on May 15, 2020, a regional analysis would be conducted based on established metrics to determine which parts of the state can begin the un-PAUSE process. The state has been divided into ten regions as follows: Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Long Island, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York. These are the same regional designation that are used for the regional economic development council award designations.
A region can begin to un-PAUSE if all the following metrics have been 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 is no region that meets all of these metrics. Importantly, all regions are lacking the required contract tracers. Contract tracers are individuals that will notify residents if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus. There is an effort now to hire contract tracers. You can visit this website to get more information. We have been asked to share this website far and wide as no region can un-PAUSE without tracers in place, and a large number of individuals will need to be hired.
Once a region has met the established metrics, a phased opening will occur for the nonessential businesses and for the nonessential business lines that essential businesses had shuttered. Phase 1 will allow for the reopening construction, manufacturing, and wholesale supply chain and select retail for curbside pick-up. If the metrics continue to be met for two weeks, Phase 2 will allow for the reopening of professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support, and real estate/rental leasing. Again, if metrics hold, two weeks after that, Phase 3 will allow for the reopening of restaurants/food service and hotels/accommodations. Finally, if the metrics continue to be met, a final Phase 4 reopening will allow for the reopening of arts/entertainment/recreation and education. If a region meets all the metrics on May 15 and begins to un-PAUSE, Phase 2 would begin on May 29, Phase 3 would begin on June 12 and Phase 4 would begin on June 26. Not all regions will open on May 15, so we will see staggered openings statewide as different regions meet the established metrics at different times. The Governor made very clear that the New York City region will be the last to un-PAUSE and that region is quite some time from reaching Phase 1.
As the un-PAUSE begins in each region, the businesses located there are going to have to have safety precautions in place. These precautions include adjusted workplace hours and shift design, social distancing, non-essential travel restrictions, masks for those required to be in frequent contact with others, strict cleaning and sanitation standards, continuous health screenings to enter the workplace and continuous tracing, tracking, and reporting. The Governor has indicated that businesses will have to submit plans on what their reopening will look like and what safety precautions are being put into place. We are anticipating that these plans will need to be submitted on a regional basis by industry groups to the local economic development office or other identified individuals. For example, we know that for the Finger Lakes, plans should be submitted to Robert Duffy, former Lieutenant Governor and chief executive officer of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and for Western New York, plans should be submitted to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. We do not think that every individual business will need to submit a plan, but we are monitoring this closely, and we will pass along information as we receive it.
Finally, the Governor announced today that his daughter, Mariah, will be spearheading a contest to launch a PSA campaign regarding the importance of wearing a mask. You can visit this link if you want more information on the contest.