Some regions in New York will begin to slowly “unpause” from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as soon as Friday, May 15 if they meet certain specifications and health measures.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement during a news briefing held at midday Monday, May 4 at Wegmans Conference Center in Rochester.
Cuomo said the state will allow selected regions to begin opening some non-essential businesses in phases, though they will have to meet certain requirements before being given the green light by the state.
According to state officials, Long Island, New York City, the Mid-Hudson, Capital District, and Western New York were at the highest risk in the state and businesses there will open later.
Meanwhile, the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Central New York, and the Finger Lakes regions are all at a lower risk. (See first image above.)
“It’s not going to be a statewide thing reopening," Cuomo said. “This state has different regions that are in many different situations than other regions.
"Rather than wait for the whole state to reopen at one time, we’re doing it by region.
“If upstate has to wait for downstate to reopen, they’re going to be waiting a long time, so we’re doing it on a regional basis, and we’re doing it in phases.”
Phase one of reopening will include construction, manufacturing, and select retail locations that can feature curbside pickup. Phase two includes professional services, finance, insurance, retail, administrative support, and real estate.
Cuomo said that phase three will be restaurants, and hotels, while phase four includes arts, education, and recreation education.
“We’re following the guidelines from the CDC,” he said. “The region has to have at least 14 days of decline in total hospitalizations and death. There must be 15 new cases or five new days on a three-day rolling average. There must also be fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per 100,000 residents per day in that region.”
In addition, hospitals in a region must be below 70 percent capacity before reopening, and there must be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents.
“It’s going to be region by region,” Cuomo added. “We’re putting together a system and monitoring regions on a literal daily basis. We’re getting the specific data day by day and we’re going to allow the data to allow us to proceed with the reopening.
“This can’t just be a case of ‘we want to get out of the house, so we’re going (to reopen),’ he continued. “Let’s be smart, let’s be intelligent, and let’s do it based on facts.”
While parts of upstate New York will open on May 15, it is unclear when Long Island, New York City, or the Mid-Hudson Valley will be allowed to start to reopen.
“This is about government leaders’ performances … their expertise in a situation where competence and ability can be the difference between literal life and death,” Cuomo said. “What we’ve done in this state has literally saved the lives of several thousand New Yorkers.
“We’ve done great work at a tremendous cost, but we have to remain vigilant and smart.”
COVID-19 deaths were down, though 226 New Yorkers still died from the virus, though the number of new COVID-19 patients, intubations, and hospitalizations are all trending downward. There have been nearly 320,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed statewide since the pandemic began in early March.
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