The Capital Region will begin the first phase of reopening businesses on Wednesday after hitting the final benchmark of hiring contact tracers, who seen as key to limiting the spread of the virus in order to restart the economy.
The development means most of upstate New York will have started the first stage of the process, which will allow construction, manufacturing and some retail businesses for curbside pickup to start business for the first time since March, when non-essential businesses were shuttered.
Western New York previously began the process of reopening this week, and last week the state approved the first phase of reopening for 35 counties in the North Country, Finger Lakes, Central New York, Southern Tier, and the Mohawk Valley regions.
Hospitalizations are declining across the state and, while 105 people have died in the last 24 hours, that's also part of an ongoing decline.
But curtailing the spread of the virus has come at the cost of the economy, with millions of people losing their jobs and the state and local government budgets busted by spending on the response and the lost tax revenue of two months. And most New Yorkers are yet to reach the first phase, as hard-hit areas like New York City and the metropolitan region are yet to reach the final seven benchmarks.
State officials wanted the regions to hit the criteria of declining hospitalizations, testing, and a prevalence of contact tracers to find people who have been exposed to the virus and isolate them.
Aggressive tracing will be required for any reopening in order to limit the spread of the virus as businesses start back up.