Good Evening: I hope everyone was able to enjoy a nice weekend and, at least for a while, forget about the ongoing pandemic. During today’s briefing, Governor Cuomo issued additional guidance on the criteria that needs to be met in order for regions to reopen based on the 12-point plan released last week. At first glance it looks as though the Southern Tier is gaining ground on meeting these requirements by meeting five of the seven needed to reopen. The only two areas the region is lacking are tied to testing and tracing capacity.
Within those two categories, Steuben County feels as though the tracing capacity exists. The greater concern is with testing, as the current testing supply in the county does not meet the criteria outlined by the state and global demand is placing a strain on the supply chain. However, the county is working on this issue and hopes to be in compliance by the May 15th target to reopen.
It should be noted though that additional testing will likely identify new cases that may require additional treatment. If this occurs, the reopening could be delayed beyond the May 15th target, so it is imperative that you and your employees continue to maintain social distancing measures now more than ever to prevent additional community spread.
In anticipation of a reopening, the state also outlined new safety precautions that each business must put in place upon reopening to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. Businesses will be required to:
- Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace.
- Enact social distancing protocols.
- Restrict non-essential travel for employees.
- Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others.
- Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards.
- Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace.
- Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and
- Develop liability processes.
As was originally indicated last week, the first businesses to reopen once all of the criteria are met will be manufacturing and construction. Additional phases of reopening will follow with professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support, and real estate/rental and leasing. Follow up phases will include hotels, restaurants, arts and education. There has not been any clear guidance on when these additional phases will occur. This determination will be based on whether or not the health impacts originally outlined can be maintained.
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.