The governor extended his "PAUSE" order through May 28 for New York City and Long Island, which have respectively met four and five of the metrics required to start reopening. Five of ten regions in New York State are beginning to reopen their economies Friday in a measured step to return from the coronavirus crisis that has shut down nonessential businesses and schools.
Governor Cuomo said today at his briefing, "We're opening Phase 1 in those five regions today. ... We expect to see an increase but that increase has to be monitored and has to be controlled. We've talked about the infection rate, the rate of transmission. When the rate of transmission hits 1.1, you're headed towards a bad place so monitor that rate daily and correct immediately if you see an increase in those numbers." The five regions reopening today: The Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions. The have met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state's regional phased reopening plan. NYS on PAUSE will be extended until May 28 for all regions that do not reopen today - Western New York, the Capital Region, the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island. When a region meets all seven metrics required for reopening, that region may immediately enter phase one of reopening.
Meanwhile, all beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware will be open for Memorial Day weekend. Cuomo announced all state beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware would reopen May 22, part of the coordinated multi-state effort Murphy had described earlier in the week.
The reopenings come with a number of restrictions. Should people not adhere to the rules, the beaches will shut down again, Cuomo warned.
Among the restrictions are:
- Every beach must be required to establish capacity limitations. However, Murphy said the state will leave it to local leaders to decide the method that would be best for their community, including limiting the numbers of available beach tags for any given day or through utilizing technology such as through a geographic special analysis. Additionally, Cuomo said that capacity will not exceed more than 50 percent.
- Social distancing measures requiring at least six foot distances between beach goers will be enforced except for family groups household members, caretakers or couples. This is the same approach taken with state parks. Local leaders will also decide how to best enforce social distancing.
- Organized games and contact sports will be prohibited as well as beach recreational summer camps and special events that draw people to the beach such as concerts, festivals, or fireworks. "Each of our shore communities have unique characteristics and we know there is no one size fits all approach. However, some restrictions do fit across the board," Murphy said.
- Regularly and properly clean shower pavilions, changing areas and restrooms. "Sanitation will also be of great importance especially since this order will allow for shower pavilions, changing areas and restrooms to remain open for visitors but they must regularly and properly cleaned," Murphy said, adding that restroom facilities in state and county parks will also reopen, provided they undergo frequent and proper cleaning.
- Boardwalk businesses will also face restrictions. Boardwalk restaurants must continue to operate as take-out and delivery only, but the rides, arcades and other draws must remain closed. Other features that are meant to draw a crowd like a playground or visitor center must similarly remain closed for the time being.
- Ensuring staffing levels are adequate. This is necessary in order to achieve the above measures and the for crowd control.
Cuomo said that those beaches that are controlled by municipalities, counties and local governments have the option of remaining closed or opening. However, if they open, they must adopt the state guidelines (above).
City, town and county beaches can also reopen May 22, at their local governments' discretion. Governments that plan to permit reopening must notify the states two days before the start date.
New York City won't be among those.
De Blasio says the city isn't yet ready to allow usual activities like barbecues and concerts in the parks -- or to open public beaches and pools. He outlined initial steps today to protect the most vulnerable, including a $55 million investment to purchase more than 74,000 air conditions for low-income seniors, 22,000 of which will go to NYCHA residents. Installations begin next week. Four hundred fifty thousand New Yorkers will receive subsidies on their utility bills, which are typically up to 30 percent higher in summer.