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Governor Cuomo Outlines Plan to Reopen New York Governor Cuomo Outlines Plan to Reopen New York

Governor Cuomo Outlines Plan to Reopen New York

As many state governments contemplate reopening their states amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has outlined guidelines for a phased plan to reopen the state on a regional basis.

On Tuesday, April 28, Governor Cuomo unveiled a reopening plan that will operate on a regional basis, based on stated criteria ,with certain regions being able to begin the reopening process potentially as early as mid-May. Each region of the state—Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Long Island, Southern Tier, and Western New York—must follow the guidelines when reopening their respective regions.

The governor’s guidelines consist of the following 12 points:
  1. CDC Guidelines: Based on CDC recommendations, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate, it may begin a phased reopening.
  2. Industries: Businesses in each region will reopen in phases. Phase one will include opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk. Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered "less essential" or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
  3. Business Precautions: Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical workspace safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business.
  4. Building Health Care Capacity: To maintain the phased reopening plan, each region must have at least 30 percent of hospital beds and ICU beds available after elective surgeries resume.
  5. Testing Regimen: Regions must implement a testing regimen that prioritizes symptomatic persons and individuals who came into contact with a known COVID-19-positive person and conducts frequent tests of frontline and essential workers. Regions must maintain an appropriate number of testing sites to accommodate its population and must fully advertise where and how people can get tested. The region must also use the collected data to track and trace the spread of the virus.
  6. Tracing System: There must be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people. The region must also monitor the regional infection rate throughout the reopening plan
  7. Isolation Facilities: Regions must present plans to have rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.
  8. Regional Coordination: Regions must coordinate the reopening of schools, transportation systems, testing, and tracing with other surrounding regions.
  9. Reimagining Tele-Medicine: Details to follow.
  10. Reimagining Tele-Education: Details to follow.
  11. Regional Control Rooms: Each region must appoint an oversight institution as its control room to monitor regional indicators during the phased reopening, including hospital capacity, rate of infection, PPE burn rate, and businesses.
  12. Protect and Respect Essential Workers: Regions must continue to ensure protections are in place for essential workers.
With New York State’s confirmed COVID-19 cases at roughly 300,000 and COVID-19-related deaths at over 18,000, the governor made it clear that “emotions can’t drive [the] reopening process” and that each region must monitor and utilize “factual data points” as they begin to reopen.

Additionally, Governor Cuomo announced the creation of the New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board, comprised of “business, academic, community, and civic leaders from across the state,” to help guide the reopening process. The advisory board is expected to formulate further guidelines tailored to particular industries and businesses. A list of the members of the advisory board can be found here.

Though reopening dates have not been set, the governor has declared that some regions may begin the reopening process as early as May 15th, when the New York State on PAUSE executive order is set to expire. Other regions may have the PAUSE order extended.

To stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 news and content, please visit Ice Miller’s COVID-19 Resource Center, available here:

Ice Miller LLP attorneys can recommend measures that your business should implement to minimize legal risk and respond effectively to executive orders and laws enacted relating to COVID-19. For further information and guidance, please contact the Ice Miller COVID-19 Task Force, or call the New York State COVID-19 hotline at 888-364-3065.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.


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