New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that he expected several regions in the state to be able to begin a phased reopening as soon as this weekend after the stay-at-home order expires on May 15.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the statewide shutdown will end when "PAUSE" expires May 15, kicking off a pivotal week in New York's months-long fight against the coronavirus. A number of regions have met his requirements to begin reopening Friday, while others are on the cusp.
Certain low-risk businesses and recreational activities can resume across the state on May 15, Cuomo said. Those include landscaping and gardening, drive-in movies and outdoor activities like tennis that are conducive to social distancing.
"A new chapter starts today," the governor said Monday. "This is the next big step of this historic journey."
Cuomo has broken the state into 10 regions, each ranked across seven key metrics that must be met before they can begin to reopen. As of Monday, three regions -- the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley and the Finger Lakes -- had achieved all seven goals. They'll have to finalize logistics before Friday, Cuomo said. Central New York and the North Country are close, checking six boxes.
New York City and Long Island have made progress since Cuomo first specified the regional reopening criteria, but neither is ready yet by his standards, meeting four and five of the seven metrics, respectively, as of Monday.
Those seven metrics are based on two core factors: infection rate and capacity. Regions must prove they have controlled their infection rates and that they have established the hospital, testing, tracing, isolation and compliance capacities to safely sustain their reopenings.
Regions that meet the criteria can, as of May 15, enter the first of four reopening phases, which includes construction and manufacturing business. The second phase involves retail, finance and professional services, while the third addresses food and hospitality. Education and entertainment will be the last sectors to resume, Cuomo has said.
A two-week monitoring period is required between phases. Each region has a Regional Control Room that will oversee developments. Should a region stop meeting one of the seven metrics at any point, its control room will act as a "circuit breaker," effectively pausing the reopening process until the metric is re-met.
While some northern and western parts of the state appear ready to go, there are still 21 New York zip codes where the COVID-19 infection and death rates are still far too high, including all five boroughs of New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's three key indicators -- new hospital admissions, current number in ICUs and percent of people testing positive -- all trended down Monday, which is what he wants to see for at least 10 to 14 days before considering easing any restrictions. While all three have been down on a given day before, the city hasn't been able to sustain the trend for consecutive days.
On Monday, de Blasio said he doesn't expect non-essential businesses to reopen in the city before June. He also announced alternate side parking would remain suspended through May 17. It will resume May 18 through May 24 for a "clean sweep" citywide, ending what may be the longest such shutdown in city history. It will then be suspended again May 25 to June 7.