Guidelines to Reopen New York

May 12, 2020 by Mandy Qualls

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, For Employers

Last modified May 13, 2020

Governor Cuomo recently outlined guidelines to help each region of New York create individual plans to reopen the state. The criteria are designed to allow phased reopening to begin in each region only if:

  • The infection rate is sufficiently low;
  • The health care system has the capacity to absorb a potential resurgence in new cases;
  • Diagnostic testing capacity is sufficiently high to detect and isolate new cases; and
  • Robust contact-tracing capacity is in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The Governor’s plan calls for continuing to control the transmission rate of COVID-19. There are three metrics in which reopening will be allowed:

  • A decline in total net hospitalizations over the course of a 14-day period
  • A sustained decline in the three-day rolling average of daily hospital deaths over the course of a 14-day period
  • Fewer than two new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents

The Governor’s plan also states that every region must have the healthcare capacity to handle a potential second surge in cases – regions must have at least 30% of their total hospital and ICU beds available at all times.

Aggressive testing is also a high priority so hotspots can quickly and effectively be isolated. Each region will have to achieve 30 tests per 1,000 people per month. The New York State Department of Health has also established region-specific thresholds for the number of contact tracers required for each region.

Lastly, each region can reopen businesses in phases with at least two weeks in between each phase:


  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Select Retail with curbside pickup
  • Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing


  • Professional Services
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Full Retail
  • Administrative Support
  • Real estate


  • Restaurants / Food Services
  • Hotels


  • Arts
  • Entertainment
  • Recreation
  • Education
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