For those of you who have marked your calendar for this Friday, May 15—the day when New York’s statewide lockdown expires—there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. (You’ll remember that Cuomo did say that some regions would remain closed beyond that date.) In his May 11 press briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out the groundwork for what each region will need to accomplish before it can fully reopen, following this Friday, emphasizing that the reopening plan will be in the hands of each region, not the state government (though each will have to report its continued findings to the state).
For regions looking to reopen, Cuomo reiterated the seven conditions that are required, which include a 14-day decline in hospitalizations (or a three-day average of less than 15 new hospitalizations); a 14-day decline in hospitalized deaths (or a three-day average of under five new ones); a three-day rolling average of under two new hospitalizations for every 100,000 residents; the share of total hospital beds available is under the 30 percent threshold; the share of total ICU beds available is under the 30 percent threshold; 30 residents per 1,000 that are being tested monthly (seven-day average of new tests per day); and 30 contact tracers per 100,000 resident (or to meet the current infection rate).
To that end, Cuomo announced some of the regions that had already met all of the criteria and were ready to begin their four-phase reopening. These include the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier and the Mohawk Valley; with regions that are close but not yet ready, including Central New York and the North Country. (Cuomo did not mention the Capital Region in that list, though he did not that it had met five of the seven criteria needed to reopen.) Phase 1 businesses that can reopen include construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chain, retail (curbside pickup) and agriculture/forestry/fishing; Phase 2, professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support and real estate/rental leasing; Phase 3, restaurants/food services and hotels/accommodations; and Phase 4, arts/entertainment/recreation and education. (A list of how each region is doing, in terms of meeting the criteria to reopen, will be posted to the state’s website and will be updated every 24 hours going forward.)
As of May 15, statewide, landscaping and gardening businesses; outdoor, low-risk recreational activities like tennis; and drive-in movie theaters will all be ready to reopen.
Of course, each phase being completed is contingent on the previous one working out, and safety precautions being put in place by businesses to ensure that the infection rate doesn’t increase. “[Reopening] will be determined by the facts and the numbers as you go along,” said Cuomo of how long it would take between each of the phases. “As soon as you can reopen, reopen.”
This will all be coordinated through regional control groups, which will be monitoring all of the phases for reopening and every aspect of the rollout. An 11-person group will oversee the phased reopening process of the Capital Region, with Saratoga County’s being overseen by Country Administrator Spencer Hellwig.