As of July 22, all of New York State is in Phase Four of reopening.

Courtesy of NY Forward website

Guidance as to what can open in Phase Four can be found here.

To see where all regions in New York State currently stand in regard to the restart process, click here.

Phase Four:

  • Higher education
  • Low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment
  • Low-risk indoor arts and entertainment
  • Media production

For more information on events like the Great New York State Fair and youth sports, click here.

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

Business as usual?

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

However, once a business is allowed to reopen, it won’t be business as usual. 

Andrew Fish, Senior Vice President of Business and Economic Development for CenterState CEO, said, “So for each company to reopen, at least we saw this in phase one and we expect to see it in the subsequent phases, the state released specific guidelines for those specific industries.”

Businesses will have to establish new rules that follow guidelines set by New York State to help protect employees and customers from contracting COVID-19. 

[The guidelines] talk about how much they need to do in terms of social distancing, what they need to do in terms of signage, in terms of cleaning. There’s a mandated response and there’s a recommended response in the template that the state issues. So, companies need to go through that, make sure they’re adhering to those guidelines, and then there’s an online form that they’re going to have to submit to the state that says, ‘We’ve reviewed this. We’re following this. We have a reopening and a safety plan in place.’ And attest to the fact that they are doing that and submit that to the state. So, there isn’t a formal review process at this point, it’s a self-certification process, and that’s what we saw in phase one. 

Andrew Fish, Senior Vice President of Business and Economic Development for CenterState CEO

It is unclear what the penalties will be for businesses who do not adhere to the guidelines established by the state. However, you can report a business not following the guidelines by clicking here, or by calling 1-833-789-0470.

Businesses who are allowed to reopen may not be ready to reopen. Fish says it’s important for businesses to open on their own terms, and make sure they are prepared.

“Customers are still going to be relying on you as a business to provide them with a good experience,” Fish says. “So, if they don’t feel safe, if they don’t feel like they had good customer service because the employees aren’t trained, just because you can open your doors doesn’t necessarily mean that your long-term success is going to be based on how quickly you do that. It’s going to be how smart you are in setting that up.”

CenterState CEO has also established a toolkit on their website where you can see the guidelines from New York State. There’s also questions that business owners should be asking themselves as they think about their reopening listed within the CenterState CEO toolkit.

However, the form business owners have to read and affirm before properly reopening is found on the State’s New York Forward website. 

If your business has not been cleared to reopen yet, Fish recommends reading the guidelines other industries have to abide by, as they most likely will be similar to the guidelines your business will have to adhere by.

Businesses will also want to make sure they are comfortable with the changes they make, because these guidelines may not be so temporary.

“These guidelines will be in place as long as they’re necessary for us to be safe,” Fish stated. “Whether that’s until a vaccine is available or whether that’s until a certain amount of testing reveals that there’s a certain level of immunity or whether it’s a combination thereof. I really don’t know. I’m not a medical expert, but everything that we’re hearing from, our leadership is that the priority is for people to be safe.”

What regions can reopen?

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 needed to move forward with the restart plan, 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. 

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