As New York State continues to flatten the Covid-19 curve the state and region look to begin the gradual process of opening back up. With the New York on Pause set to expire on May 15th, Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out the phases of reopening.
First and foremost, after May 15th the state will look to reopen by region, with regions that were less affected by the virus (upstate) opening first. The initial phase will be “low-risk” businesses like construction and manufacturing. After that, the state plans to follow a matrix in evaluating how essential a business’s product or service is versus what the risk of spreading the virus is in their day-to-day operations. There will be two weeks between phases so the state can monitor various effects. The three categories that businesses must consider are:
- People: How are you going to protect them? What are you going to be doing differently?
- Places: What does the physical space look like? How will it look when you reopen? What are you doing about PPE? Cleaning? Hygiene? What is the access? Screening? Travel and transportation?
- Process: What can you put in place to make your business less risky? How can you train people? How can you communicate about the disease? Is it possible to do testing in your workplace? (Pharmacies will begin offering testing for essential workers. Any truck driver should call ahead to ensure their pharmacy has a test available for them)
Downstate, Mayor Bill de Blasio, in coordination surrounding states such as New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as the suburban counties of Suffolk, Nassau, and Westchester. There are three key indicators that must go down for 10-14 days for the city to reopen:
- People admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 (suspected)
- People admitted to the ICU with Covid-19 (suspected)
- The percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus
Some questions for NYC business owners and managers to consider:
- How do you reopen a restaurant while protecting workers and customers?
- What types of protective equipment should workers in each sector wear to protect themselves?
- In what circumstances would you screen personnel or patrons with temperature or symptom checks?
- What should the new cleaning protocols be for specific types of businesses?
Lastly, the Mayor laid out plans for a set of advisory councils broken down by sector, which will begin meeting the first week of May:
- Large businesses
- Small businesses
- Public health and health care
- Arts, culture and tourism
- Nonprofits and social services
- Faith-based organizations
- Educational and vocational training
- Racial inclusion and equality