Under a multistate agreement, public and private beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware will be reopening effective May 22, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced today at a news conference in Albany.
Cuomo emphasized the importance of a multistate approach when reopening businesses and facilities such as beaches. Counties and municipalities may, at their discretion, keep local beaches closed or impose their own regulations and restrictions that go beyond minimums imposed by the state.
“One state doesn’t open beaches; another state does open beaches. You will see a veritable flood to the state. Georgia opened barber shops; people drove from out of state to Georgia to get a haircut,” Cuomo said. “If New Jersey opens beaches and Connecticut opens beaches and we didn’t open beaches you would see a flood of people to Connecticut and New Jersey.”
He said it’s not in the interest of New York or New Yorkers to have people crossing the border to go to New Jersey or Connecticut beaches, which then become overcrowded.
“We’ve come up with an agreement that accommodates all needs and it was done in good faith,” Cuomo said. He said that while each state may have different specific rules, they all will be “in the same ballpark.”
In New York, beaches will be limited to 50% capacity. No sports will be allowed and picnic areas and playgrounds will remain closed along with pools. Social distancing measures will be required. Face masks will be required to be worn by employees and are recommended for use by visitors. Masks will be required for everyone in situations where social distancing is not possible.
Cuomo on Thursday night signed an executive order extending the NY PAUSE regulations through May 28 for the regions of the state that have not met criteria to begin economic reopening.
Five of the ten regions qualified to begin the process today. The Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions met all seven metrics required to begin reopening. Western New York, the Capital Region, the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island did not qualify but can begin the reopening process whenever all seven metrics are met.
Cuomo also announced additional requirements for businesses that are allowed to reopen under phase one of the four-phase reopening plan.
All workers in residential and commercial construction must have masks and wear them when within six feet of another worker. Employers must provide masks to all employees and there can be no meetings where people crowd together.
Retail business that open and offer curbside pickup of preordered merchandise must see to it that both employees and the buyer in a vehicle are wearing a mask with gloves preferred. Hand sanitizer must be made available.
Retail businesses that offer in-store pickup must do so only for prearranged orders. There must be social distancing in stores with no more than 50% of maximum occupancy. Patrons must wear masks as must store employees. Gloves are preferred and hand sanitizer must be made available.
Statewide there have been a total of 22,304 COVID-19 deaths according to statistics obtained this afternoon from the state Department of Health. Deaths in Westchester total 1,392. Rockland saw 468 of its residents fall victim to the virus. There were no new deaths for the third straight day in Putnam, with the number holding at 58. There have been 335 deaths recorded in Orange County and 123 in Dutchess.
New York has had 345,813 people test positive for the virus. There were 31,943 cases identified in Westchester, 12,637 in Rockland, 1,121 in Putnam, 9,825 in Orange and 3,498 in Dutchess.