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With the decline in COVID-19 infection rates throughout New York State, attention has turned to safely re‑opening the economy. Governor Cuomo has outlined his plan to re-open the ten regions of New York. Our region is the Mid-Hudson Valley, which includes Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.

The State will monitor seven metrics within four core factors to determine when a region can re-open:

  1. New Infections: 14 days of decline in total net hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average or no more than 15 net new total hospitalizations or 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average, and fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per 100,000 residents per day after re-opening.
  2. Health Care Capacity: At least 30 percent of total hospital and ICU beds available for COVID-19 patients after elective procedures resume and at least 90 days of personal protective equipment stockpiled.
  3. Diagnostic Testing Capacity: capacity to conduct 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month – approximately 70,000 tests per month for the Mid-Hudson Valley.
  4. Contact Tracing Capacity: At least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents, and additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in the region – at least 697 for the Mid-Hudson Valley.

Once a region meets these four core factors, businesses in that region will be permitted to re-open in the following phases:

Phase OneConstruction, manufacturing and wholesale, select retail (curbside pickup);

Phase Two – Professional services, finance, insurance, retail, administrative support, real estate and rental leasing;

Phase Three – Restaurants and food services, hotels and accommodations;

Phase FourArts, entertainment, recreation, and education.

Prior to re-opening, each business will be required to:

  1. Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace;
  2. Enact social distancing protocols;
  3. Restrict non-essential travel for employees;
  4. Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others;
  5. Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards;
  6. Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace;
  7. Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and
  8. Develop liability processes.

Within the Mid-Hudson Valley region, we have met four of the seven metrics needed to begin reopening. A further decline of hospital deaths and new hospitalizations are needed, as are additional contact traces to monitor new infections and quarantine those that may have been exposed. More information and an up-to-date chart showing the progress of all ten New York regions can be found at www.governor.ny.gov/programs/new-york-forward.

This is not intended to be legal advice.  You should contact an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation.

Martin S. Butcher, Esq.
Martin S. Butcher, Senior Counsel

Martin Butcher is senior counsel with the firm and practices Matrimonial and Family Law, and Bankruptcy.

He can be reached by phone at 866-303-9595 toll free or 845-764-9656 and by email.

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