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NYS Coronavirus Update: Five Regions Begin Phase 1 of Reopening -- State Beaches Will Be Open Memorial Day Weekend

May 15, 2020

From Governor Cuomo @ 7:49 PM on May 15:

Starting today, five regions of New York — Mohawk Valley, Central New York, Southern Tier, the North Country and the Finger Lakes — begin Phase 1 of reopening.

What does that mean for residents of these regions? Retail stores can reopen for curbside pickup, or in-store pickup. Residential and commercial construction can resume, and so can manufacturing. Greenhouses and nurseries can reopen, as can several other industries outlined here. Officials will carefully monitor health data on a daily basis to ensure the safety of employees, customers and all New Yorkers.

If you live in another region, "New York on PAUSE" remains in effect until May 28. However, as soon as your region hits the benchmarks, it can begin to reopen immediately — it does not have to wait until May 28. To see where your region stands, visit the state's Regional Dashboard.

Southern Tier food distribution.
Photo of the Day: The Food Bank of the Southern Tier held a food distribution event today in Windsor, NY, with many of the supplies coming from the state's "Nourish New York Initiative," providing 500 families with assistance.

Here's what else you need to know tonight:

1. Phase 1 businesses must follow specific guidelines. For example, for retail stores, customers must order ahead for curbside or in-store pickup, and social distancing is required inside the store. For construction, masks must be worn within 6 feet of another worker and employers must provide masks. Business owners can see the detailed industry-by-industry requirements here. Every business is required to develop a written plan using a template provided by the state that puts the safety of their customers and employees first.

2. What happens next? For regions that have begun reopening, Phase 2 will begin after a two-week period, as long as the health data show the region can enter the new phase safely. Phase 2 will allow even more businesses to reopen, including professional services, hair salons and barber shops, more retail stores, administrative support and real estate businesses.

3. State beaches will be open Memorial Day weekend. In coordination with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware, New York State beaches will reopen with restrictions in place effective Friday, May 22. The restrictions include reducing the number of people allowed and ensuring there are enough staff present to enforce social distancing. Local beaches and lakeshores may also open next Friday if they follow the same safety precautions.

4. The number of total COVID hospitalizations is still dropping. Total hospitalizations fell to 6,394, from 6,706 the day before. The number of new COVID hospitalizations rose slightly to 431, from 420 the day before. Tragically, we lost 132 New Yorkers to the virus yesterday, and our hearts are with their loved ones.

5. Remember to respond to the Census. Every New Yorker can respond to the Census online and it's important that everyone takes the time to do so. Right now, less than 55 percent of New Yorkers have responded — we need to do better. Filling in the Census form is safe, easy and can be done in just a few minutes. Let's make sure every New Yorker is counted. Complete the Census today at

Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment"
: SUNY alumni have joined up to feed frontline workers in the Coronavirus response. Food for the Frontlines, an organization started and led by SUNY alumni, has raised close to $50,000 and has delivered roughly 9,000 meals and snacks to hospitals throughout New York City. "We are focused on targeting less served medical staff and supporting smaller restaurants—both groups could not be more thankful for our efforts," said organizer Beth Balsam Belkin.

andrew-cuomo-news-conference.jpgIf you were forwarded this email, you can subscribe to New York State's Coronavirus Updates here.
Ever Upward,
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo