N.Y. Schools, Entertainment Will Be in Last Phase of Reopenings

New York construction, manufacturing and select retail businesses will be part of the first phase of reopenings, with schools and entertainment last, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Regions that meet a long list of requirements can start opening beginning May 15. Cuomo said regions and businesses should start making their reopening plans now, taking into consideration how they will implement precautions such as social distancing.

New York is making plans for reopening as the number of hospitalizations and new cases continue to decline. There were 226 new fatalities as of May 3, a 10th straight drop.

“Today we’re talking about what local government officials have to do, what each region has to do to be ready,” Cuomo said. “If you’re ready, this is how you’re ready, learning from the lessons, on the science, on the facts,”

Regions must follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to reopen, having at least 14 days of decline in total hospitalizations and deaths on a three-day rolling average, Cuomo said.

“This is telling you that you’re basically at a plateau level that you can actually start to reopen,” Cuomo said.

The CDC also recommends that a region have 30 tests for every 1,000 residents ready to go prior to reopening, he said.

Regions must watch the rate and spread of infection, and the benchmark is fewer than two new Covid-19 patients per 100,000 residents. Hospitals must also have 30% of beds available in case there’s a virus surge, as well as 90 days worth of personal protective equipment.

Once regions have met those benchmarks, they can look at reopening businesses based on a phase-in plan, starting with the most essential and the lowest risk, Cuomo said. Manufacturing and construction, as well as curbside pickup for select retailers, can begin starting May 15.

Phase two includes professionals services, finance and insurance industries, retail, and real estate. Restaurants and hotels would be able to reopen in the third phase, and the arts, entertainment, and schools in the final phase.

Cuomo last week announced schools and colleges in the state would be closed through the end of the school year, and distance learning would continue.

This is a situation where “government is first and foremost in a position where they have to make decisions and perform and do it well and competence matters, and professionalism matters, and we’ll hold government officials accountable,” Cuomo said. “But we also need local officials, we need our hospital administrators to be a part of this. And we need every citizen to be a part of this.”

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