PLANS TO RE-OPEN NEW YORK
Governor Cuomo outlined a plan to re-open New York State yesterday. The plan focuses on getting people back to work and easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread of the virus or overwhelming the hospital system.
Governor Cuomo said in his daily press conference, "We're mutually dependent in that what I do can affect your health, but it really comes down to giving everybody the information so people can make their own decision, and the great achievement in this period has been that when people get the facts, and they trust the facts, and they understand the facts, they do the right thing. And that is a lesson that I hope people remember after this is all over. But, we still have to remember the facts. And we talk about reopening, we talk about re-imagining. Let's start to put some meat on the bones of what we're talking about so people understand."
New York State remains on PAUSE through May 15. But, New York will re-open on a regional basis as each region meets the 12 criteria necessary to protect public health as businesses re-open. "I think everybody went through a period where they analyzed their life and what they were doing and when somebody all of a sudden pulls the rug out from under you and you wind up in a different place, you know, you just see life differently and I think that's true for most people. Okay. After that reflection, what have we learned? How do we improve? How do we build back better? Because it's not about return to yesterday. There's no return to yesterday in life. It's about moving forward.", he said.
Governor Cuomo outlined guidelines that will help regions create individual plans based on facts and data to re-open New York.
- Do no harm - Step one is to continue controlling the rate of infection. This includes extending the NY Pause order until May 15th and implementing additional measures to reduce the rate of infection, including requiring masks in public when social distancing is not possible.
- Harden the healthcare system - Step two is continuing the surge and flex strategy to ensure anyone who needs medical attention gets it, building out the strategic stockpile of PPE and other medical equipment, and sharing resources amongst states and localities.
- Develop testing and contact tracing protocol - The best data to inform decisions and calibrate the progress of any phased reopening of the economy will come via diagnostic and antibody testing. The state is working with federal partners to rapidly scale up testing. A new state-of-the-art contact tracing program was launched by New York State with the partnership of former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Johns Hopkins University.
- The 'Un-Pause NY' approach is designed to open businesses in phases of priority - Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by businesses considered "less essential" or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. As the infection rate declines, the pace of reopening businesses will be increased.
Precautions and practices for businesses to guide phased return and prepare for "new normal":
- Workplace: Redesign workplaces to include social distancing measures (i.e., desks six feet apart, modify conference rooms), implement telecommuting for the most vulnerable.
- Customer interaction: Implement measures to maintain social distancing and ensure minimal contact with customers. Provide public-interacting employees with necessary protective supplies such as gloves, masks, etc. Special precautions should be taken for businesses that primarily interact with the most vulnerable populations.
- Proactive infection plan: Ensure protocols are in place should an employee develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive (i.e. work from home plan).
Governor Cuomo outlined additional guidelines for the phased plan to re-open New York on a regional basis.
- Phase one will include opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk.
- Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered "less essential" or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. As the infection rate declines, the pace of reopening businesses will be increased.
- The region must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
- There will be two weeks in between each phase to monitor the effects of the re-opening and ensure hospitalization and infection rates are not increasing.
- This plan will be implemented with multi-state coordination, especially in downstate New York. The plan will also coordinate the opening of transportation systems, parks, schools, beaches and businesses with special attention on summer activities for downstate, public housing and low-income communities, food banks and child care.
- The phased re-opening will also be based on individual business and industry plans that include new measures to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business. The state is consulting with local leaders in each region and industry to formulate these plans.
12 Point Plan for Phased Return of Business
Each region of the state – Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Long Island, Southern Tier and Western New York – must follow these guidelines.
- CDC Guidelines: Based on CDC recommendations, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate they may begin a phased re-opening.
- Priority Industries for Re-opening: Businesses in each region will re-open in phases. Phase one will include restarting construction and manufacturing functions with low risk. Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered "less essential" or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
- Business Precautions: Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business.
- Building Health Care Capacity: To maintain the phased re-opening plan, each region must have at least 30 percent of hospital beds and ICU beds available after elective surgeries resume.
- Testing Regimen: Regions must implement a testing regimen that prioritizes symptomatic persons and individuals who came into contact with a symptomatic person, and conducts frequent tests of frontline and essential workers. Regions must maintain an appropriate number of testing sites to accommodate its population and must fully advertise where and how people can get tested. The region must also use the collected data to track and trace the spread of the virus.
- Tracing System: There must be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people. The region must also monitor the regional infection rate throughout the re-opening plan.
- Isolation Facilities: Regions must present plans to have rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.
- Regional Coordination: Regions must coordinate the re-opening of schools, transportation systems, testing and tracing with other surrounding regions.
- Re-imagining Tele-Medicine
- Re-imagining Tele-Education
- Regional Control Rooms: Each region must monitor businesses and regional indicators during the phased re-opening, including hospital capacity, rate of infection, PPE burn rate.
12. Protect and Respect Essential Workers: Regions must continue to ensure protections are in place for essential workers.