Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday provided more details on the gradual approach New York officials will take this month to reopening businesses that have been shuttered since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The shutdown order will begin to be relaxed for some regions of the state on May 15, with a four-phased approach toward reopening that will follow next.
The details of the reopening come as hospitalizations in New York continued their weeks-long decline, and 226 people have died in the last 24 hours from the virus.
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In the first phase, manufacturing, wholesale supply and construction will go first.
The second phase will see industries like finance and real estate reopen.
A third phase will have restaurants and hotels opening, followed by arts and entertainment venues.
Even then, the “new normal” will likely appear vastly different.
Only some regions of the state will be able to open their businesses first, providing they have enough contact tracers to find people who have had interactions with people who have tested positive for the virus.
Regions will need to have enough hospital capacity to accommodate any surge in cases, while also demonstrating a multi-day decline in new cases.Businesses themselves will have to take steps to protect employees by socially distancing and providing personal protective equipment.
Cuomo wants governments and businesses to begin planning now for the phased-in reopening, which could take months to fully implement.
Schools will not be re-opening for the remainder of the academic year, Cuomo announced on Friday.
Public health officials want to avoid a spike in cases by reopening too fast. At the same time, there are fears of a “second wave” of cases in the fall.
"The truth is,” Cuomo said, “nobody knows what happens next."