COVID Reopening (NY Forward) for New York State (and city)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

New York State COVID Reopening (NY Forward) and NYC


The New York State stay-at-home directive has been extended to June 13* for regions that are not eligible to reopen, including NYC. *NOTE: In some notices, PAUSE is extended to May 28. 

The NYS COVID monitoring dashboard is tracking the metrics and is being used for decision-making statewide

5/27/2020 NYC cannot open until it achieves eligibilty on 2 remaining metrics: 30% availability for ICU beds (it has 28%), and it needs an additional 800 contact tracers. NYC has hired 1,700 contact tracers who will be in the field by June 1. According to Mayor de Blasio there will also be Resource Navigators to connect people with resources for free. Hotel rooms available for free for people who need to self isolate for 14 days. Any doctor can arrange for patient to go to a hotel.

New York State will take a regional and a phased approach to reopening
Regions will rely on seven core metrics to inform when a region is ready to reopen. Industries are divided into 4 categories based on essentialness and risk. These categories determine the phase for re-opening.

The NYS COVID monitoring dashboard is tracking the metrics region will be able to reopen if it meets four criteria: it must show 14 days of decline in hospitalizations and hospital deaths and fewer than 2 new cases per 100,000 people per day. Hospitals must have 30% capacity available, both in the regular hospital and ICU, and must have a 90-day stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE). A region must be able to conduct 30 tests per 1,000 residents per month; and the region must have 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.

COVID-19 data tracker for New York State

NYC coronavirus tracking

NYC Department of Health page

The reopening divides businesses into four categories based on essentialness and risk of spreading the virus.

Industries for phased re-opening

Phase 1 (summary): manufacturing, residential construction and landscaping, retail stores including clothing, appliances, electronics, sporting goods and furniture stores are open for in-store and curbside pickup, greenhouses and nurseries, drive-in movie theaters (statewide), outdoor, low-risk recreational activities such as tennis (not doubles) (statewide), wholesale trade, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, race tracks across the state, but with no spectators, small gatherings (up to 10 people, social distancing must be practiced). NOTE: There is still significant risk to indoor gatherings. Those are settings where the virus can spread. Masks, hand washing and social distancing should still be practiced. 
Phase 2: professional services (including finance and insurance), retail, administrative support, real estate / rental & leasing.
Phase 3: restaurants / food services and hotels
Phase 4: arts / entertainment / recreation, education.

Upon reopening, businesses must implement new safety precautions to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. These include strict cleaning and sanitation standards, restricting nonessential travel, adapting the workplace to allow for social distancing, and requiring masks to be worn if employees are in frequent contact with the public. Read all the requirements. Businesses opening in Phase 1 do not have to submit a reopening plan to the state; however, they must create and implement an employee safety plan. This employee safety plan must be written down on a template from the State Department of Health, and kept on site in the event that the Department of Health inspects the site.

NYS COVID monitoring dashboard

NYS Full criteria for re-opening at

NYS Business guidance for phase one of the state's reopening plan

NYS COVID tracker map

NY Forward Book:

Statewide Guidelines:

New York Forward Business Reopening Lookup Tool:

Metrics to Guide Reopening New York:

NY Forward Safety Plan Template:

CDC's Guidance for Where You Live, Work, Learn, Pray, and Play

CDC Reopening guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes

CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again
May 2020, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

DRAFT Centers for Disease Control (CDC) document advising on how to safely reopen businesses and institutions (full document, not published by the White House) (68 pages) [Source: Associated Press].

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's resource of advistory boards, Who’s Helping New York Reopen?

New York City threshholds

NYC goals for hospital admissions for covid-related illness (below 200 per day), people in critical care (below 375), positive test rates for coronavirus (below 15%) (the ideal levels may change depending on the availability of testing supplies). See this webpage where NYC is tracking the goals daily

NYC coronavirus page

Federal reopening guidelines 

5/22/2020 President Trump announced that religious gatherings should be considered "essential" and that he wants them to be open. [NOTE: A lawsuit was raised and won by the NY Civil Liberties Union that religious gatherings can't be singled out. The guideline must be applied to all gatherings.]

4/16/2020 President Trump presented guidelines for 'Opening Up America Again'
April 16, 2020,, by The Hill Staff 
[G]uidelines released by the White reopen the economy recommend that states see a downward trajectory in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases as well as flu-like symptoms before they move to lift stay-at-home orders and other restrictions. The document explicitly states that the outlined steps are implementable statewide at the discretion of individual governors.  Read full guidelines

White House/CDC Guidance: Opening America

Coronavirus testing & contact tracing

Gov. Cuomo urged virtually all New Yorkers to get tested for the coronavirus. With more than 760 testing sites now operating across the state, he said, many sites have more capacity for testing than is being used. The advice for wide categories of people to get tested – those with symptoms, essential workers, people who tested negative a month ago but may have been exposed since. [Source: 5/23/2020, City & State Coronavirus Update email]

5/22/2020 Gov. Cuomo announced that people should look for calls from "NYS Contact Tracing" and answer these calls. 

Contract tracers will likely call you and identify themselves as a member of the city’s Test and Trace Corps or New York City Health and Hospitals. You will only be contacted by a contact tracer if you have been previously diagnosed with COVID or you have unknowingly come into contact with COVID. [Source: email from Councilwoman Carlina Rivera's office, May 21, 2020.]

 Information on Test & Trace Corps

Milestones and info

5/14/2020 Gov. Cuomo exec order extends the Stay-at-Home (PAUSE) until May 28 for New York State regions that do not meet the specific COVID-19 criteria for re-opening as shown on the regional monitoring dashboard. This includes New York City.

5/22/2020 New York's state beaches will reopen on May 22, at the same time as beaches will be opened in New Jersey, Connecticut and Deleware. Beaches will be limited to 50 percent occupancy, social distancing must be observed and concessions will remain closed. Some beaches require proof of residency. This does not include NYC beaches.

5/17/2020 Mayor de Blasio announced that New York City will be increasing testing and tracing. 

5/11/2020 New York State will reopen certain low-risk business and recreational activities in regions that meet the re-opening criteria on May 15th. This includes landscaping and gardening, low-risk outdoor recreational activities (like tennis) and drive-in movie theaters. Businesses that want to reopen will be required to create social distancing plans to protect customers.

4/17/2020 Gov. Cuomo's presented a plan on how to gradually open up New York State's economy (done in conjunction with neighboring states). Summary courtesy of State Sen. Liz Krueger: (1) Do No Harm - step one is to continue controlling the rate of infection, (2) strengthen the healthcare system, (3) 
testing and contact tracing, (4) phased return to "new normal." 



5/1/2020 New York’s plan to reopen
May 1, 2020,, by Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are declining but the state needs more testing, supplies and federal funding to safely reopen...New York’s “Pause” order, which forced non-essential businesses to close their offices and storefronts, is scheduled to end on May 15...Cuomo said that the executive order may need to be extended further for other parts of the state with higher COVID-19 infection rates...Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been discussing his 12-step plan to gradually reopen the state soon after the order lifts...[]...New York announced that it was in the beginning stages of creating a test and trace program with the help of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be manning the project...Another problem facing the state is its lack of designated quarantine and isolation centers in which to place sick individuals or those who have been exposed to the virus...Even if the state does manage to suppress the virus through social distancing measures and minimal testing, it’s likely the virus will return with a vengeance this fall...“If the hospital system exceeds 70% capacity or rate of transmission of the virus hits 1.1%, those are danger signs,” the governor said. 

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