Having experienced the world’s biggest and deadliest coronavirus outbreak, New York is behind most other states in coming out of lockdown, but its reopening is firmly underway. As of July 14, nine of New York’s 10 regions are in the fourth and final phase of a four-phase reopening plan following the coronavirus lockdown: and New York City is the only region still in phase three.
Which Regions Are In Which Phases?
Most New York state regions are in Phase 4 of the reopening plan, with the exception of New York City. Regions are to reopen in four phases, prioritizing industries that pose the lowest risk of infection for employees and customers. The details of each phase are not necessarily set in stone either, as the state has already made adjustments to the original guidelines, like adding outdoor dining to phase two.
Originally, the plan was for state and regional officials to evaluate the outcomes of the reopening phases over two-week periods and decide whether the region can move onto the next one, but each phase will not necessarily last only two weeks.
Is It Time For Your Business to Reopen?
Phase One allowed construction, manufacturing, and wholesale supply-chain businesses to reopen, as well as many retailers for curbside pickup, in-store pickup, or drop-off. Phase-one retail categories included clothing and shoes, electronics and appliances, web and mail order, florists, jewelry, luggage, and sporting goods, among others. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting businesses can also open, as well as landscaping and gardening businesses, drive-in movie theaters, and socially distant sports such as tennis.
Phase Two allowed a greater range of businesses to reopen, including offices, outdoor dining, places of worship (at 25 percent capacity), and storefront retailers, finance and insurance businesses, administrative support, and real estate and rental leasing industries. Salons and barbershops were also allowed to reopen in phase two with limited capacity, and so were car dealerships.
Phase Three allows restaurants and other food-based businesses to reopen for dine-in service at 50 percent capacity. In New York City, indoor dining will not be allowed in this phase. Diners are required to be separated by at least six feet or by a barrier when not possible, and must wear masks until they sit down. Gatherings of as many as 25 people are also allowed.
Phase Four, the final phase, allows schools and low-risk arts, entertainment, and recreation businesses to reopen – all with social distancing required – but not movie theaters, shopping malls, or gyms. Gatherings of up to 50 people will also be allowed. As of July 20th, New York City has begun Phase 4 of the reopening plan.
With the possibility of a Phase Five, cases are skyrocketing in states – so there may be a chance that a 5th phase may be added. With select industries remaining closed in phase four, there may need to be another phase added. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said the state is watching what is happening in other reopened states in order to determine whether New York needs to adjust its own plan. Officials are especially worried about the risk of transmission from air conditioning systems at large venues.
What’s Still Closed?
The mayor and governor said indoor dining in the city won’t resume for the time being, citing the resurgence of cases in parts of the country that have taken a more cavalier approach. Gyms, schools, movie theaters and other large venues for culture and entertainment still are shut, and some won’t reopen even after the city enters the fourth phase. The Broadway League, a trade association for the theater industry in New York and beyond, said the city’s theaters will remain closed through the end of the year.
Keeping Yourself and Others Safe
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do is to wash your hands, social distance and wear a mask. If you have traveled recently, quarantining for 14 days is obligatory to help lower the chances of coronavirus spreading to others. Keep an eye out for what phase New York City is in – state officials have stated that there is a possibility of rolling back to the previous phase if necessary.
At Friends Insurance Brokerage, we put our customers and employees first when it comes to safety, and we are here for you during these times. For any questions, please call us at (718) 648-1313.