Governor Andrew Cuomo is going to let his New York on PAUSE executive order expire on May 15, leaving it to each region to look at where it stands on the battle against COVID-19.
During his May 4 press conference, Cuomo provided seven new criteria that the 10 state regions, Long Island being one of them, will need to meet to begin reopening the economy, which he outlined would happen in phases.
“Reopening is more complicated than closing down,” he said. “This is not a sustainable situation.”
But a statewide reopening is simply not going to happen, the governor said.
“Rather than wait for the whole state to be ready, reopen on a regional basis,” he said. “If upstate has to wait for downstate to be ready, they are going to be waiting a long time.”
Criteria to reopen includes links to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, such as a 14-day decline in hospitalizations, or fewer than 15 hospitalizations a day, and a 14-day decline in virus-related hospital deaths, or under five a day. The rate for new hospitalizations must stay below two per 100,000 residents per day, and hospital-bed and intensive care unit-bed vacancies must be at least 30 percent. Lastly, regions must have 30 virus tests available per 1000 residents per month and there must be at least 30 contract tracers per 100,000 residents.
While central New York and the Finger Lakes are well on the way to meeting the criteria, Long Island has only met two of the seven metrics, the least in the state, according to data detailed during the briefing. On Long Island, there has been a 14-day decline in hospitalizations and the number of tests needed to available has been met. Nassau and Suffolk counties are even behind New York City, which has also met the decline in hospital deaths.
In Suffolk, there was a small increase in hospitalizations — four — on Sunday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced in his daily briefing on Monday. Bellone said that because Cuomo’s matrix is a three-day rolling average, he is confident it will not impact the overall figures too much.
Cuomo said local leaders should be working on their reopening plans now.
Once the criteria are met, the region may move forward in opening in phases, the first of which the governor said last week would be construction, manufacturing, and limiting retail with curbside pickup.
On Monday, the other three phases were detailed — professional services, administrative support, retail, and real estate would open, followed by restaurants and hotels, Cuomo said, although hotels and places of accommodation are on New York’s list of essential businesses. Any businesses having to do with arts, entertainment, and recreation would reopen last.
“Businesses must reimagine their operations to be safe and in compliance with standards,” Cuomo said. “You reopen unintelligently and you can have an immediate backlash.”
He pointed to other countries that have seen COVID-19 numbers rebound after reopening.
Cuomo also said that every hospital must have 90 days of personal protective equipment stockpiled.
“We cannot have another mad scramble where nurses and doctors don’t have gowns and masks, etc.,” he said.