Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that three regions of New York state are set to start Phase 1 of reopening on Friday, May 15.
So far, only the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, and the Southern Tier have met all seven metrics the governor created as a way to start safely reopening regions while also keeping track of numbers and staying prepared in case there is a second wave of the COVID-19 virus.
These metrics include a 14-day decline in hospitalizations and deaths, at least 30 percent of hospital and ICU beds open in case there is a second wave, and 30 diagnostic tests and 30 tracers for every 1,000 residents.
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Although the above three regions are the only ones to have met all seven requirements needed to reopen, some areas like Central New York and the North Country are close. According to the governor, these two regions need to ramp up their diagnostic testing before they can safely reopen.
Governor Cuomo did not rule out that some of these areas might still be able to reopen on Friday if they find a way to meet all these standards by then.
He also announced that although only three of the eight upstate regions are set to start reopening, he will be allowing for certain low-risk businesses and recreational activities to resume on May 15 statewide.
To help the state better plan and strategize for reopening, Cuomo said he is launching regional “control rooms,” made up of local officials who will largely be in charge of making sure their regions are prepared for each phase of reopening.
The four phases regions must reopen under:
- Phase 1: Construction, manufacturing; select retail, mainly curbside pickup
- Phase 2: Professional services; finance and insurance; retail; administrative support; real estate
- Phase 3: Restaurants/food services; hotels
- Phase 4: Arts/entertainment/recreation; education
Governor Cuomo said the length of time between each phase "will be determined by the facts and the numbers as we go along." He earlier had said it would most likely be two weeks between each phase if numbers stayed low.
There were still 161 people who died from the coronavirus in New York in the past 24 hours. However, this is the first time since March that fatalities have dipped below 200.