New York’s four-phase restart plan; four regions cleared for restart

Local News

(WSYR-TV) — New York State will begin its process of reopening the economy on a regional basis, beginning in some areas of the state as early as May 15.

New York has been under Governor Cuomo’s PAUSE orders since March 22, but with the orders set to expire on Friday, some regions are getting set to reopen their economies.

When regions meet the seven criteria established by the New York State Department of Health they will be allowed to reopen in four phases. 

The phased-in plan prioritizes businesses who give the region a greater economic impact and have low risk of infection for the workers and customers.

The governor says there will be at least a two week period between each phase to monitor the spread of COVID-19, and see if adjustments need to be made to the plan.

What will open in each phase?

Phase One:


  • Building Equipment Contractors
  • Building Finishing Contractors
  • Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors
  • Highway, Street and Bridge Construction
  • Land Subdivision 
  • Nonresidential Building Construction
  • Residential Building Construction
  • Utility System Construction


  • Apparel Manufacturing
  • Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing
  • Electric Lighting Equipment Manufacturing
  • Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
  • Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing
  • Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing
  • Machinery Manufacturing
  • Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing
  • Paper Manufacturing
  • Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
  • Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing
  • Printing and Related Support Activities
  • Textile Mills
  • Textile Product Mills
  • Wood Product Manufacturing
  • Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing

Wholesale Trading:

  • Apparel, Piece Goods, and Notions Merchant Wholesalers
  • Chemical and Allied Products Merchant Wholesalers
  • Furniture and Home Furnishing Merchant Wholesalers
  • Household Appliances and Electrical and Electronic Goods Merchant Wholesalers
  • Machinery, Equipment, and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
  • Metal and Mineral (except Petroleum) Merchant Wholesalers
  • Paper and Paper Product Merchant Wholesalers
  • Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers
  • Miscellaneous Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers
  • Miscellaneous Nondurable Goods Merchant Wholesalers

Select retail for curbside pickup only:

  • Clothing Stores
  • Direct Selling Establishments
  • Electronics and Appliance Stores
  • Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses
  • Furniture and Home Furnishing Stores
  • Florists
  • General Merchandise Stores
  • Health and Personal Care Stores
  • Jewelry, Luggage, and Leather Goods Stores
  • Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores
  • Office Supplies, Stationery, and Gift Stores
  • Used Merchandise Stores
  • Shoe Stores
  • Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument and Book Stores
  • Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting:

  • Greenhouse, Nursery, and Floriculture Production
  • Landscaping and Gardening
  • Other Animal Production
  • Other Crop Production
  • Support Activities for Animal Production
  • Support Activities for Crop Production
  • Support Activities for Forestry

Drive-in movie theaters and low-risk recreational activities like tennis will also be allowed in Phase One.

Phase Two:

  • Professional services
  • Finance and insurance
  • Retail
  • Administrative support
  • Real Estate, rental and leasing

Phase Three:

  • Restaurants and food services

Phase Four:

  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Education

Click on each phase to find out more details of what’s included in that phase.

Many people are wondering when barber shops and hair salons will reopen, as they don’t necessarily fit into any of the categories listed in the four phase plan provided by the state. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon was asked about barber shops and hair salons on May 4 and, at that time, he did not have a concrete answer either.

Places of worship have also come into question as to what phase they fit into. Governor Cuomo said on Thursday places of worship could invite large gatherings and should be considered under Phase Four of the reopening plan. Large gatherings have fueled COVID-19 and allowed it to spread so rapidly.

Below is what Governor Cuomo said at his daily briefing on Thursday, May 14 regarding places of worship:

Business as usual?

The plan, New York Forward, focuses first and foremost on getting people back to work and easing social isolation, without triggering renewed spread of the virus or overwhelming the hospital system. 

Once a business is allowed to reopen, it most likely will not be business as usual. Guidelines have been established by the state for each type of business to help protect its employees and customers from contracting COVID-19. To see what guidelines apply to your business, click here.

Businesses, even those who have been operating for months as essential, must also fill out a business reopening safety template to keep on file at their business. Local governments will monitor businesses to ensure they are complying with social distancing guidelines, and the template must be on file for local governments to check.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon also mentioned that just because some businesses are allowed to go back to work on Friday, doesn’t mean they should. Businesses should still try to limit the number of people in the workplace if possible.

When will regions be allowed to reopen?

In order to even begin the restart plan, regions must meet a list of seven requirements set by the New York State Health Department. 

Metric 1: A downward trajectory of net hospitalizations over a 14 day period measured on a three day average; or never having a net increase of 15 hospitalizations in one day

Metric 2: Decline in deaths over a 14 day period measured on a three day average; or five or fewer deaths in any day when looking at the three day average

Metric 3: Fewer than 2 new hospitalizations per 100,000 people each day, measured on a 3 day average

Metric 4: At least 30% of hospital beds must be available

Metric 5: At least 30% of ICU beds must be available

Metric 6: Regions must be able to perform 30 tests per 1,000 residents per month 

Metric 7: Regions must have 30 contact tracers per 100K residents

What regions can reopen on May 15?

Below is where each region in the state stands as of Wednesday regarding the seven metrics:

According to Governor Cuomo’s office, Central New York, the North Country, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley and the Finger Lakes region have met all seven benchmarks, and can begin their restart plans on May 15.

Once a region is cleared for restart, the region must appoint an oversight institution as its “control room.” The control room will monitor the metrics listed above, and they can slow or shut off reopening if indicators are problematic.

To see how your region is performing based on the criteria set by the state, click here.

For reference, according to the state, Central New York is made up of five counties; Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego. Oneida County is considered part of the Mohawk Valley region. Jefferson and Lewis counties are in the North Country. The Southern Tier includes Chenango and Tompkins counties. New York State considers Seneca and Wayne counties to be in the Finger Lakes region. 

More from NewsChannel 9:

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Live Doppler 9 Map Center

CNY View

CNY View

CNY View

Oswego Area

Oswego Area

Syracuse Area

Syracuse Area