NEW YORK, NY — New York officials have released reopening guidelines that apply to essential and nonessential businesses, including mandatory measures and recommended best practices. The guidelines come ahead of a planned phase one business reopening early Friday for regions that have satisfied the state's seven metrics. As of Thursday, five regions had met the criteria: central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier.
The Mid-Hudson Valley had satisfied five of the metrics as of Thursday, while Long Island dropped to four, matching New York City.
At his daily briefing on the coronavirus Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the guidelines "quite specific." They include restrictions and recommendations for construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, retail trade, manufacturing and wholesalers.
Mandatory restrictions include ensuring 6 feet of social distancing, limiting tightly confined spaces such as elevators to one person, and avoiding in-person gatherings as much as possible. Recommendations for businesses include creating additional space for workers, adjusting hours, staggering arrival and departure times and even reconfiguring work stations.
Cuomo acknowledged guidelines are not "one-size-fits-all," and said it's up to regional control boards to monitor metrics closely and ensure businesses are complying with the guidelines.
Cuomo said the virus exposed parts of the American health care system, and that an initial $3 million in grants will be doled out to businesses to make medical supplies and equipment in New York.
The reopening comes as the number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations, intubations, intensive care admissions and deaths continued to trend downward, falling to mid-March levels. The number of new coronavirus patients ticked up slightly to 420 on Thursday, though still appeared to show an overall downward trend. The number of people who died from the virus fell to 157, including 121 in hospitals and 36 in nursing homes.
Cuomo reiterated parents should be concerned about a coronavirus-related illness that has sickened 110 children and led to three deaths in young people.
"Parents should be aware and informed," he said, noting the key is a prolonged fever.
New York issued "first-in-the-nation criteria" to health care professionals across the state defining the syndrome. State health officials also directed hospitals to prioritize testing for children with symptoms.