College students in New York will most likely be able to return to campuses in the fall, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.

The state will be issuing guidance  to colleges and universities to allow for some residential and face-to-face programming for the fall semester.

What You Need To Know

  • Colleges will need to create safety plans that need to be approved by the state

  • 618 out of 68,541 tests of COVID-19 on Wednesday came back positive

  • Bars and restaurants will be responsible for enforcing social distancing in the area right outside their premises

Campuses must first develop a plan on how they will follow certain health and safety guidelines. They then must submit this plan to the state for approval.

The move is the latest sign that New York is in a relatively stable position after being the nation's hotspot for the COVID-19 pandemic during much of the spring. The state has incrementally been reopening its shuttered economy since mid May.

Over the past few weeks, videos have flooded social media of people drinking outside packed bars and restaurants.

Governor Cuomo said he will be signing an executive order to increase enforcement on social distancing.

The State Liquor Authority will be able to immediately suspend a liquor license if businesses do not enforce social distancing rules and be subject to an "immediate shutdown order."

Bars and restaurants will also be responsible for the areas outside their establishments, such as on the sidewalks.

"Compliance matters. It matters. It's not just moral, communal, ethical. It's the law. Follow the law,” Cuomo said. 

The state conducted 68,541 COVID-19 tests on Wednesday. There were 618 positive tests. This means that 0.9 percent of people tested were positive for the virus. 

"Lowest percent positive since we started,” Cuomo said. 

However, Central New York saw a sharp spike in cases from Tuesday to Wednesday. 

On Tuesday of those tested, only 1.1 percent were found to be positive with the virus. On Wednesday that percentage jumped to 3 percent.

Cuomo said the state used contact tracing to find 34 positive cases at an apple manufacturing plant in Oswego, saying that this cluster was being contained now. 

New York City is set to start Phase 2 of the reopening process on Monday.