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Governor elaborates on New York Forward reopening in new guide

Outlines phased restart of business activity

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo elaborated on his plan to reopen New York's economy in a 51-page guide titled "New York Forward," which he posted on Twitter Monday night.

The governor plans to reopen the state by region. Among the regions are: the Capital, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Long Island, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Southern Tier and Western New York regions.

How reopening will play out will depend on local conditions on the ground. To reopen, a region must meet seven criteria, which include:

A 14-day decline in hospitalizations.

A 14-day decline in hospital deaths.

New hospitalizations kept to under 2 per 100,000 people.

Thirty percent of hospital beds available.

Thirty percent of intensive care unit beds available.

Thirty per 1,000 residents tested for the virus.

Thirty contact tracers in place for every 100,000 residents.

Long Island currently meets four of the seven criteria. It falls short on two — 14-day decline in hospital deaths and new hospitalizations under 2 per 100,000 — and like all other regions in the state, is expected to have a sufficient number of contact tracers in place soon, but does not now.

On Tuesday, Cuomo said three regions — Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley — would be prepared to reopen May 15. 

Meanwhile, certain "low-risk" business activities such as landscaping and gardening, as well as drive-in movie theaters, would be allowed to resume statewide. Certain outdoor recreation activities like tennis would be permitted also.

Each region will have its own "control room" that can halt reopening if guidelines are not adhered on the local level.

For the three regions that meet the state's criteria, reopening is to begin cautiously, the governor said, and will play out over the coming weeks in four stages:

Phase One: Construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, select retail for curbside pickup only, and agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Phase Two: Professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support, and real estate, rental and leasing. 

Phase Three: Restaurants and food services, beyond takeout and delivery.

Phase Four: Arts, entertainment and recreation, and education.

The state, Cuomo said, has created a New York Forward Reopening Advisory Board to help guide the reopening process. 

Ensuring that the reopening is done in a safe and efficient manner will require strong local leadership on the part of elected officials and individual responsibility on the part of the public, the governor said.

"Under New York Forward, regions will be reopening at different paces, led by the data," Cuomo said in the guide, "and communications to businesses about the rules of the road will be critical. Local leaders should continue with their strategy of outreach and education to businesses that are not in compliance with the guidelines."

Schools, the governor noted, "will be reopened. But the question for each region is when, how and for whom."

Those decisions, he said, will have to be made on the local level, depending on local conditions.