From New York State’s Regional Monitoring Dashboard as of May 14, 2020
Five areas of New York State will re-open on May 15th. Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions were the first to be announced. (North Country will also re-open May 15th, announced on May 12th as well as Central New York, announced on May 14th). Whether a region re-opens is based on seven criteria, established by the CDC:
- 14 day decline in net hospitalizations
- 14-day decline in hospital deaths or fewer than 5 deaths per day
- New hospitalizations under 2 per 100K residents
- At least 30% of total hospital beds available
- At least 30% share of ICU beds available
- 30 per 1K residents tested monthly,
- 30 contact tracers per 100K residents or based on infection rate.
There are 10 regions in New York State, and you can track your region’s progress on New York State’s regional monitoring dashboard. As of yesterday, New York City has satisfied 4 or the 7 metrics, still lacking on new hospitalizations (3.46 per 100,000), share of total beds (at 29%, very close however), share of ICU beds available (24%). New York City has the least number of metrics satisfied state-wide. Two regions, Central New York has six metrics satisfied, and the others including Long Island and the mid-Hudson which includes Westchester have five.
Essential construction, such as on affordable housing, schools, and state projects like the conversion of the James A. Farley Post Office into an Amtrak hub have continued during the pandemic (photo taken on April 22, 2020). But other construction will resume when a region opens first.
Re-opening will also take place over four distinct phases — this is not a reopening overnight. Phase 1 includes construction, manufacturing wholesale, agriculture, forestry, and fishing, and curbside retail pickup. Each phase will last at least two weeks, hospitalization and infection rates will be monitored — if there is no increase, a region can move to the next phase. Certain businesses and recreational activities deemed low-risk including landscaping, gardening, tennis & drive-in-movie theaters will re-open statewide on May 15th.
The Warwick Drive-In, one of the many drive-in theaters in New York that can reopen on May 15th. Photo courtesy of Beth Seeber Wilson
Phase 2 will include professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support, real estate, rental and leasing. Phase 3 restaurants and food services, Phase 4 will be arts, entertainment, and recreation. We have been told by restauranteurs that Mayor De Blasio has said he is aiming for Labor Day for the reopening of restaurants, a situation that will continue to put financial pressure on the predominantly small businesses in the industry.
Numerous restaurants, like the Paris Cafe will not re-open following the pandemic
You can find the full NYForward reopening plan on the New York State website. In the opening message, Governor Cuomo references the 1918 Spanish Flu (which saw three waves of infections), stating “As the first wave of the 1918 influenza epidemic hit America, cities across the country shut down public gatherings, implemented strict isolation protocols, and required people to wear masks in public. After 10 weeks, the country’s mortality rate began dropping. However, some cities and states quickly ended their restrictions, just as the curve began flattening, thinking the danger was over. But others, including New York, kept most of the measures in place for weeks after deaths began measurably declining.”
Governor Cuomo speaking at the May 10, 2020 press conference presenting NYForward. Photo by Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
In the press conference, Cuomo stated, “This is the next big step in this historic journey. First phase was to figure out what we were dealing with because we had no idea. Scramble, frankly, to deal with the situation that dropped from another planet. Stabilize, ramp up the healthcare system, inform people, get people to understand what we were dealing with and control the damage. That’s the mountain to me. We’re now on the other side of the mountain. Next step, how do we reopen, how do we reopen intelligently and how do we reopen without taking a step back? What we have done thus far is really amazing. And it was because we were smart and because we were unified, and because we did that, we averted tragedy.”
Next, check out 14 of New York’s Drive-In Movie Theaters.