New York state would reopen its businesses and resume a full range of activities in four phases, as outlined today by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo who met with reporters at the Wegmans Conference Center in Rochester.
Cuomo had previously announced that the first phase of business reopening would involve construction and manufacturing. Today, he expanded that to include select retail establishments that could offer curbside pickup and announced that there would be a total of four phases of business categories that would be cleared to begin reopening.
Phase two would incorporate professional services including finance and insurance, retail, administrative support and real estate businesses including rentals and leasing.
Phase three would include restaurants and other food service operators and hotels and other providers of accommodations.
The fourth phase would include businesses related to the arts and entertainment and education.
Openings would take place regionally. Cuomo provided specifics on the basic parameters that would have to be met in a given geographic region in order for reopening to begin. These included:
• a 14-day decline in hospitalizations, or fewer than 15 new hospitalizations a day;
• a 14-day decline in virus-related hospital deaths, or fewer than five deaths a day;
• new hospitalizations remaining below two per day for each 100,000 residents;
• local hospitals having a vacancy rate of at least 30%;
• at least 30% of intensive care unit beds being vacant;
• at least 30 virus tests conducted each month for every 1,000 residents in the region; and
• at least 30 people doing contact tracing for each 100,000 residents in a region.
He said each region would have a “control room” where decisions would be made by county executives, chairs of boards of legislators, town supervisors, hospital officials, state leaders and others.
“Chart a course with the best information you have, learn from the lessons you have but be able to correct that course depending on what happens,” Cuomo said about the reopening process. “Don’t act emotionally. Don’t act because I feel this, I feel that, because someone said ‘Well other states are opening so you must be able to open.’” Cuomo did not give any time lines for reopening in various parts of the state, but did note that the current orders requiring statewide business closings expire May 15.
Cuomo emphasized that decision making needed to be data driven so that if a new wave of the virus is taking shape action to control it can be swift. He cited Dr. Anthony Fauci’s statement on April 29 that “…we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.” Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Cuomo reported that there were 226 additional COVID-19 deaths in New York state yesterday. There were 193 deaths in hospitals and 33 in nursing homes. It was the lowest one-day death toll since March 28. The number of new hospitalizations dropped to 717, the lowest since March 22. There were 9,647 people in hospitals due to COVID-19 as of yesterday.
Statewide there have been a total of 19,415 COVID-19 deaths according to statistics obtained this afternoon from the state Department of Health.
New York had 318,953 people test positive for the virus. There were 30,097 cases identified in Westchester, 12,095 in Rockland, 1,026 in Putnam, 9,015 in Orange and 3,131 in Duchess.
There were 1,220 deaths in Westchester. Rockland saw 413 of its residents fall victim to the virus. Putnam had 47 deaths, while there were 256 deaths in Orange County. There were 81 deaths in Dutchess.