Half of New York’s 10 regions officially entered the first phase of the reopening of the shutdown caused by their corona virus on Friday when Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined strict restrictions that remained in force in these areas.
Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and South Tier began reopening on Friday after meeting seven benchmarks related to state COVID.
“We will open half the territory in the state today,” Cuomo said at his daily press conference in Albany when he explained that the area was “meeting numerical criteria” when it came to targets involving hospital admissions, hospital deaths, beds available, and testing and tracing.
“There is no politics for this assessment,” Cuomo said. “Everything is in the numbers.”
Under the first phase of the New York four-phase coronavirus reopening plan, construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chains, and retail businesses with roadside pickup or in-store pickup can only be reopened, and businesses in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
When it comes to residential or commercial construction, masks must be worn within six feet of other workers, employers must provide masks and there should not be a joint meeting, Cuomo said.
For roadside pickup in the retail business, employees and buyers in cars must wear masks, and gloves are preferred. Hand sanitizers must also be provided by the shop owner.
In cases where pickup is in store because roadside pickup is impractical, social distance is required, there will not be more than 50 percent of maximum occupancy, and protective customers and store employees must wear masks.
When out in public, individuals within six feet of others must wear masks, Cuomo said.
“That is a requirement,” said the governor, adding, “Store owners may not allow you in the store to take in the shop if you do not have a mask.”
It is up to local officials to enforce business compliance and social distance rules, Cuomo noted, adding, the regional “control center” will monitor the level of hospitalization, infection and testing.
“If the numbers start to move, slow down the level of activity,” Cuomo said, explaining, “you will see an increase. We hope to see improvements, but they must be monitored, must be controlled. “
Cuomo also announced Friday that under phase two reopening, hair salons can be reopened.
New York City is still a way out to reach the seven national benchmarks. Big Apple only met four targets, while Long Island reached five on Friday.
Meanwhile, the governor extended the “PAUSE” order to stay in New York – which is set to expire Friday – until May 28 for areas that have not yet entered phase one and continue the New York state of emergency until June 13.
He also said state beaches would reopen for Memorial Day weekend.
However, “if an area reaches its benchmark at any time regardless of the PAUSE sequence then the region can be reopened,” Cuomo said.