Plans to lift stay-at-home order on May 15
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined the reopening phases of the economy once the state’s coronavirus hospitalization rates remain in a steady decline, saying that some regions may be able to start the first phase as early as mid-May.
During his Sunday press conference, Cuomo said the “descent continues” in the number of virus-related hospitalizations, intubations and the state’s new number of cases. The daily death toll in New York continued to drop on Saturday to 367 but Cuomo said he believes that the state has overcome the worst part of the pandemic.
“The numbers are on the decline, everything we’ve done is working,” Cuomo said at Sunday’s briefing. “There’s no doubt that we’ve gone through the worst. And as long as we act prudently going forward, the worst should be over.”
Cuomo said that New York will follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends starting the initial step of reopening when there’s been a decline in hospitalization rates for 14 days. New York’s stay-at-home order expires on May 15, which is the earliest that a region can start the process as long as rates have dropped for two weeks.
Cuomo outlined the different phases as follows:
- In Phase one, “low risk” businesses in construction and manufacturing would be the first to reopen. He said he expects upstate regions to be among the first to reopen, while the timeline for New York City would likely be longer. He also noted that further downstate – including Westchester and Putnam – counties will need to work with neighboring states as they consider reopening certain regions.
- Phase two would involve opening businesses based on how essential and risky they are. The governor said he would leave it to business owners to analyze the risks they potentially pose in transmitting the virus. Cuomo added that there would be at least two weeks between the phases to monitor and assess the progress. He noted that businesses may need to get creative about how to resume activity in a “new normal” and still protect people from further infections.
As New York outlines the process for lifting restrictions, several states around the country are starting to reopen parts of their economy despite not meeting the federal guidelines. On Friday, Georgia eased restrictions on certain nonessential businesses and will allow restaurants to resume dine-in options for customers starting on Monday.