N.Y. Governor Cuomo Permits Certain Regions of New York State to Reopen While Others Remain on PAUSE

May 15, 2020
On May 14, 2020, N.Y. Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order extending New York State on PAUSE through May 28, 2020. Unlike previous extensions, this Executive Order permits certain regions of New York State to begin reopening effective as of 12:01 a.m. on May 15, 2020, while other regions, including New York City, remain on PAUSE.

The Executive Order provides that five regions (the Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and North Country) may proceed to Phase 1 of the state’s New York Forward Reopening Plan. Phase 1 Reopening of Businesses includes: construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail (for curbside pickup); and agriculture, forestry and fishing. During his May 15 press conference, Governor Cuomo provided an overview of what Phase 1 reopening will entail for certain of these industries, as outlined below.

Residential and Commercial Construction. Indoor and outdoor construction is permitted to open, but employees must wear masks when they are within six feet of one another. Employers must provide masks, gloves and other necessary personal protective equipment (“PPE”) to their employees. In-person gatherings must be limited to the greatest extent possible during Phase 1.

Retail Business. Curbside pickup is permitted, provided that both employees and patrons wear masks. Gloves are preferred but are not required. Employers must make hand sanitizer available to employees and patrons. If curbside pickup is not practicable, in-store pickup is permitted under certain parameters: 
  • Ordering ahead;
  • Maintaining social distancing;
  • Wearing masks (both employees and patrons);
  • Providing hand sanitizer; and
  • Limiting occupancy to 50% of maximum occupancy.
As of March 15, Western New York, Central District, Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island have not yet met the seven criteria for reopening set forth in the New York Forward Reopening Plan. Governor Cuomo explained that when a region meets all of those criteria, that region may begin reopening, regardless of the May 14 Executive Order extending PAUSE for these regions through May 28.

The Executive Order also extends all enforcement mechanisms by state or local governments through June 13, 2020. 
 
The COVID-19 situation is fluid and laws are changing rapidly. Our recent memorandums and other information discussing various aspects of COVID-19 can be found here.

Executive Order/EO