Long Island is set to become one of the latest regions in New York to enter Phase 4 of reopening the economy as the state recovers from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As of Wednesday, July 8, Long Island will join the mid-Hudson Valley, Capital Region, Western New York, the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, and North Country in Phase 4.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during a daily COVID-19 briefing on Monday, July 6 in Manhattan that health officials have checked the data and given the green light for Long Island to continue its phased reopening.
New York City entered Phase 3 of reopening on Monday, with the Hudson Valley to enter Phase 4 on Tuesday, July 7.
In Phase 4:
- Low-risk, outdoor arts and entertainment, including zoos and botanical gardens can open up to 33 percent capacity;
- Indoor arts and entertainment, including museums and aquariums can open up to 25 capacity;
- Film and movie production can resume;
- Colleges, universities, and other higher education institutions can open;
- Professional sports without fans will resume.
- Additionally, Cuomo said that in Phase 4, indoor religious gatherings will be allowed up to 33 percent capacity, up from 25 percent. Social gatherings will also be allowed up to 50 people in one setting, up from 25 in Phase 3.
Cuomo said that shopping malls, gyms, casinos, and movie theaters are among the businesses that will not be reopening with regions approaching Phase 4. He also announced that there is still no plan for schools to reopen in the fall, and that the State Fair in Syracuse has been canceled.
The announcement of new regions entering new phases of reopening comes as 38 states have seen rises in COVID-19 infection rates, including nearby Vermont and Pennsylvania.
There are currently 817 COVID-19 patients hospitalized with the virus on day 128 of the outbreak, Cuomo said. In the past 24 hours, more than 55,000 New Yorkers were tested for COVID-19, with just .95 percent testing positive.
On Long Island, the positive infection rate has dropped over the past five days:
- Wednesday, July 1: 1.1 percent;
- Thursday, July 2: 0.9 percent;
- Friday, July 3: 1.0 percent;
- Saturday, July 4: 0.8 percent;
- Sunday, July 5: 0.9 percent.
We’re actually down from where we were when we started, which no one predicted,” Cuomo said. “You have a valve, and you control the activity while monitoring the valves. Start to see the numbers go up, slow down the valve. Don’t see the numbers up, open it up.
“So we have the phases, and then we can make certain corrections,” he added. “We make certain adjustments in the phases based on the data. The numbers show you where you want to be.”
Cuomo added: “I don’t know how else to say it. Actions have consequences. Our success was a function of our action,” he said. “If you change your action, your behavior is going to change the outcome. It’s that simple. Bending the curve was simply a pure function of what we did.”
Statewide, 4,288,131 New Yorkers have been tested for COVID-19, most in the world per capita, according to Cuomo. There have been 397,649 positive tests for the virus, which resulted in 24,913 fatalities.
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