New York slowly gears up for reopening

Posted at 6:52 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 18:52:04-04

KIPS BAY, Manhattan — Like millions of other Americans, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday watched hearings in front of a U.S. Senate panel on the reopening of the country.

"[I] listened to Dr. Fauci this morning," said the governor, at his daily briefing, which was delayed by two hours so Mr. Cuomo could watch the testimony of Dr. Anthony Fauci. "He said if you don't follow the CDC guidelines, you run a real risk of triggering an outbreak that can get out of control."

The governor said that the recommendations of Dr. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, are what New York State is following as it looks to reopen, after lowering the coronavirus curve.

The reopening officially begins on Friday, May 15, but the process, the governor pointed out, will not be swift.

He reminded people about a checklist of seven conditions — including numbers of hospitalizations, deaths, and hospital vacancies — that have to be met in regions of the state for them to reopen, in phases. How each state is performing on the different metrics can be monitored on the state's regional monitoring dashboard, which is updated every day.

There are four reopening phases.

  • Phase 1: construction, manufacturing, supply chain businesses, curbside / sidewalk pickup of retail
  • Phase 2: storefront shops, finance and insurance services, real-estate and rental offices
  • Phase 3: dine-in restaurants, hotels, spas, and gyms
  • Phase 4: schools, arts, entertainment, and museum venues

Three regions upstate — the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, and the Southern Tier — will enter phase one on Friday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said New York City is not likely to fully get to that point until next month some time. Each phase has to last at least 14 days with no major uptick in cases, the governor said. That's meant to ensure reopening doesn't create new clusters of the disease.

"The last thing you want to do is open to close," said Gov. Cuomo, "and then recalibrate everything the second time."