Current Phased Re-Opening Guidelines And Guidance for Business Owners To Consider
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo has outlined additional guidelines for the phased plan to re-open New York on a regional basis. Each region of the state - Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Long Island, Southern Tier and Western New York - must follow these guidelines as part of the sate's re-opening plan.
CDC Guidelines: Based on CDC recommendations, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate they may begin a phased re-opening.
Industries: Businesses in each region will re-open in phases. Phase one will include opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk. Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered "less essential" or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
Business Precautions: Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business.
Building Health Care Capacity: To maintain the phased re-opening plan, each region must have at least 30 percent of hospital beds and ICU beds available after elective surgeries resume.
Testing Regimen: Regions must implement a testing regimen that prioritizes symptomatic persons and individuals who came into contact with a known COVID-positive person, and conducts frequent tests of frontline and essential workers. Regions must maintain an appropriate number of testing sites to accommodate its population and must fully advertise where and how people can get tested. The region must also use the collected data to track and trace the spread of the virus.
Tracing System: There must be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people. The region must also monitor the regional infection rate throughout the re-opening plan.
Isolation Facilities: Regions must present plans to have rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.
Regional Coordination: Regions must coordinate the re-opening of schools, transportation systems, testing and tracing with other surrounding regions.
Regional Control Rooms: Each region must appoint an oversight institution as its control room to monitor regional indicators during the phased re-opening, including hospital capacity, rate of infection, PPE burn rate and businesses.
Protect and Respect Essential Workers: Regions must continue to ensure protections are in place for essential workers.
The governor is recommending businesses start thinking about how they can safely resume operations when the "PAUSE" period comes to an end.
"Be smart," Governro Cuomo said. "We want to reopen. Well, have you thought through reopening? We have a couple of weeks. Start thinking through what it means to reopen. You know your business. I don’t know your business."
Resources For Business Owners:
The CDC has released guidance for small businesses about steps that can be taken to prepare to protect employees’ health and safety in the workplace. With re-opening on the horizon, it is critical for businesses to start to plan now so they can re-open as quickly and safely as possible. Read the CDC's issued guidance here.
The National Restaurant Association's ServSafe team has released guidance to help restaurants restart when the nation begins reopening its businesses. Read this issued guidance here.
The National Retail Federation has issued guidance for reopening stores that business owners may consider adopting, Explore its Operation Open Doors Checklist, an outline of key topics to consider as retailers seek to reopen operations. The checklist and select other NRF Operation Open Doors resources will be available to the public for a limited time before they become members-only resources.