A large swath of upstate New York, from the Canadian border in the North Country, to Pennsylvania in the Southern Tier region, will begin phase one of a gradual economic reopening on Friday.
The reopening will move horizontally from the Finger Lakes region to the Mohawk Valley and include large upstate cities like Rochester and Syracuse.
What You Need To Know
- Parts of upstate will begin phase one
- Some areas are yet to meet the criteria
- Cuomo wants medical manufacturers in New York
For now, western New York, the Capital Region, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island have yet to be meet the strict benchmarks being used as criteria for beginning the reopening effort.
The criteria includes declining hospitalization rates over 14 days, a prevalence of testing for COVID-19 and finding contact tracers to isolate people who have interacted with those who have tested positive. Regions must also have 30 percent hospital capacity in order to accommodate new COVID cases.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Syracuse on Thursday, part of a reopening tour of sorts he’s been conducting this week.
The first phase will include sectors of the pandemic-battered economy like manufacturing, construction and some retail businesses for curbside pickup only.
County and local-level governments will be charged with monitoring reopening efforts and a rise in infections.
Business, too, will be required to provide personal protective equipment to employees and enact social distancing guidelines.
Cuomo on Thursday questioned how many businesses qualified to open would do so.
"Big question to me is how many businesses choose to open tomorrow,” he said.
Cuomo, meanwhile, wants to court medical equipment manufactures to New York so the state is not reliant on other states or foreign governments for necessities like ventilators, masks and gowns.
"We are now aggressively courting businesses to build, to manufacture medical equipment in this state,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic shuttered non-essential businesses in March, leading to a wave of layoffs and furloughs for workers across the state.
Sales tax revenue has dripped by nearly 25 percent in April over the same period last year.
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Schools, police departments and local governments are moving forward with layoffs — a sign the recession created by the pandemic is affecting government jobs once deemed safe even during a financial downturn.
Cuomo is pushing for a combined $61 billion in federal aid — a figure that likely reflects multiple budget years — in order to save off cuts to schools and health care.
"We need our health care institutions, we need our schools, we need our police and firefighters funded," Cuomo said.