(WSYR-TV) — New York State began reopening its economy in some regions through a phased-in approach on May 15, and now some regions are getting ready to move into phase two of the restart plan.

Every region in New York State is currently in phase one of the restart plan except New York City, and some regions could move into phase two as soon as Friday.

Governor Cuomo said there has to be at least two weeks between each phase, and on Friday it will be two weeks since phase one began in Central New York. Other regions that could begin phase two on Friday include the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country and the Southern Tier.

In Central New York, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon thought the region was ready to begin the restart process on Friday, May 29, but Governor Cuomo recently put doubt in the county executive’s mind. In Madison County, the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, John Becker, says the county will enter phase two of the restart plan regardless of Governor Cuomo’s approval.

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

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
  • Administrative support
  • All office-based jobs
  • In-store retail
  • Administrative support
  • Real Estate, rental and leasing
  • Limited barbershop and hair salon services

Phase Three:

  • Restaurants and food services
  • Personal care services

Phase Four:

  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Education

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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