On Sunday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo outlined his plan to get New York’s economy back up and running—not to how it was before, however, but in an adapted fashion that adheres to a “new normal” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For anything to happen, according to Cuomo’s plan, the regional and state hospitalization rate must have a 14-day consecutive decline. The reopening will happen in phases and be monitored on a regional level.
“We’ve been talking about reopen- ing the state and reimagining a new New York, and to do that we’re going to have to make governmental decisions in partnership with business decisions,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Every business leader understands that we can’t just reopen and go back to where we were and what we were doing before—we have to move forward in light of the circumstances that have developed.”
Phase 1 will be construction and manufacturing activities with low risk. Phase 2 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, according to the plan. As the infec- tion rate declines, the pace of reopening businesses will be increased. The governor is asking businesses to make this analysis and set forth plans for themselves to make the risk level lower.
There will be a two-week gap between phases to monitor progress.
However, the plan does not yet allow for a complete reopening or returning back to normal. No attractions or activities that would attract large numbers of people are allowed.
“All of this is done in a multi-state context with our neighboring states,” Cuomo said on Sunday, adding that downstate New York—Westchester, New York City, Nassau and Suffolk—would be the most complicated.
Cuomo added that the different aspects that would need to be opened, including transportation, beaches, parks and schools, all need to open in a coordinated fashion. The plan also calls for business-by-business consideration, where leaders would communicate with each other about how their operations would change to allow for a safe environment. He also called on businesses to be creative on these new processes.
“You develop a plan on how you would reopen given everything we now know,” Cuomo said to business leaders.
Cuomo also called for consideration on allowing summer activities in the downstate region, including Long Island, not only for economic purposes, but to alleviate the need for people to be stuck at home all summer.
The governor is calling on businesses to design this “new normal” for themselves by looking at space availability, travel, protective equipment, and more that factor into a safe working environment. And all of the changes have to be monitored constantly to see its impact on public health.
“All that progress we made by flattening that curve, we could lose that in a matter of days if we’re not careful,” Cuomo said.