As New York State continues to flatten the Covid-19 curve the state and region look to begin the gradual process of reopening. Governor Andrew Cuomo first outlined the initial phases of reopening. He then further outlined data-driven principles to open New York safely by region as well as appointed a mixed bag (more on this below) advisory board. The next chapter includes seven requirements a region needs to hit before it can reopen:
- A 14-day decline in hospitalizations, or fewer than 15 a day.
- A 14-day decline in virus-related hospital deaths, or fewer than five a day.
- A steady rate of new hospitalizations below 2 per 100,000 residents a day.
- A hospital-bed vacancy rate of at least 30 percent.
- An availability rate for intensive care unit beds of at least 30 percent.
- At least 30 virus tests per 1,000 residents conducted a month.
- At least 30 working contact tracers per 100,000 residents.
As previously discussed the first phase of reopening, manufacturing, and construction, as well as some curbside retail, is set to begin in parts of the state in the middle of May. The second phase would include professional services, such as finance and insurance, retail, and real estate businesses. The third would include restaurants and hotels. The fourth would include businesses related to the arts, entertainment, and schools.
It is crucial that regions and businesses start making their reopening plans now! Taking into consideration how they will implement precautions such as social distancing, PPE, cleaning, staffing etc.
Outrageously, the trucking industry was omitted from the New York Forward Reopening Advisory Board. Trucking has gone above and beyond to ensure that hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets, and consumers were well supplied during this pandemic. Drivers risked their own health to keep this economy afloat and this omission is slap in the face to them. The fact that the trucking industry has learned how to safely and efficiently operate while following social distancing, using PPE, and conducting enhanced cleaning should provide valuable lessons to New York businesses looking to open back up. Sadly, those lessons have been pushed aside so that trust fund babies, owners of dismal sports teams, and empty commercial space can feel important.