After some initial confusion, five regions in upstate New York have been given the green light to enter Phase 2 of their reopening plans amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that as of 1 p.m. on Friday, May 29, the Finger Lakes, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, and the Southern Tier can reopen selected businesses, though under strict guidelines.
Phase 2 includes office-based jobs, real estate, barbershops, salons, and expanded retail services.
Office-based jobs include:
- Professional services;
- Administrative support;
- Information technology.
- In-store shopping;
- Rental, repair, and cleaning;
- Limited service barbershop, hair salons and nail salons;
- Motor vehicle leasing, rental, and sales.
Real estate services:
- Building and property management;
- Leasing, rental, and sales services.
Businesses reopening for Phase 2 will only be permitted to reach 50 percent occupancy, social distancing will be required, and face coverings must be worn by employees.
Other specific guidelines for offices, barbershops, hair salons, and retailers can be found above.
The announcement came after some upstate lawmakers expressed concern that they wouldn’t be permitted to enter Phase 2, despite having been in Phase 1 for two weeks and seeing continuing drops in cases.
“The reason we’ve been so rigorous is because many states and countries have reopened and made mistakes,” Cuomo said. “Everyone wants to open tomorrow … I wanted to open up the day before we closed everything down.
“But you have to be smart about it, and we’ve seen what pain happens when city, states, or countries open up too quickly,” he added. “Then you wind up closing again and that’s the worst situation and what we’re trying to avoid.”
Cuomo said the confusion came as he awaited input from global pandemic specialists before giving the regions the green light to go ahead entering Phase 2.
“We wanted to make sure that the data was reviewed by all of the experts,” he said. “A County Executive may be very good at what they do, but they’re not an expert in viral transmission in a global pandemic … I may be a competent governor, but I’m no expert either.
“I wanted to make sure ew had the best minds look at all the data before we stepped forward,” he added. “We went to the global experts who have more experience than we do, and we review the data with them, some of the best minds you can find on the globe."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.