Central New York cleared to begin the reopening process


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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Governor Andrew Cuomo made a visit to Upstate University Hospital Thursday afternoon and delivered great news to the people of Central New York. Cuomo announced the Central New York region has officially met all seven benchmarks needed in order to begin the reopening process. 

The Central New York region, which includes Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego counties, can begin the reopening process once the New York on PAUSE order expires on Friday at midnight.

Like the rest of the state, New York will begin the reopening process with Phase One, which includes the reopening of businesses in the following areas:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale Trading
  • Select retail for curbside pickup only 
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting

Central New York must appoint an oversight institution as to its “control room.” The control room will monitor the metrics needed to reopen, and they can slow or shut off reopening processes if indicators are problematic.

The reopening process might get underway on Friday, but Governor Cuomo said it would not be business as usual.

The state-issued guidelines for each type of business in Phase One to follow if they plan to reopen. Each business must also make a plan on how they will adhere to the guidelines, and the plan must be kept at the place of business. The plan does not need to be submitted to the government but must be available if the local government decides to do an inspection of the business to ensure they are following the guidelines set by the state.

Businesses who have been operating as essential throughout the COVID-19 crisis must also come up with a plan.

Business leaders can read and affirm the guidelines set by the state and they can fill out the business reopening safety template, by clicking here and scrolling down to the form associated with their business.

If a business feels they can not follow the guidelines listed by the governor, they will have to submit a plan that can be approved by their “control room” on how they will limit the spread of COVID-19.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon also mentioned that just because some businesses are allowed to go back to work on Friday, doesn’t mean they should. Businesses should still try to limit the number of people in the workplace if possible.

“There are folks who have pre-existing medical conditions and they’re pretty scared about going back to work,” County Executive McMahon said. “These are your employees, and if there’s a way for them to stay home and still do their job and accomplish what they do a little bit longer, I would ask that you consider that.”

Earlier on Thursday, Governor Cuomo said there were no rules disallowing people to socialize, but he advised everyone to continue to be smart and practice social distancing. Mayor Walsh echoed his request at the Onondaga County COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.

“The reason we are in the position we are to open Phase One tomorrow is because collectively we’ve been doing the right thing,” Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said. “What’s critically important is that, again, understanding that the reason we got here is because we have been doing the right things, and if we want to continue to make progress we need to continue to do the right things. So, now is not the time to let our guard down.”

Central New York joined the North Country, Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier as the five regions cleared by the New York Department of Health to begin the reopening process.

To see where all regions in New York State stand regarding the metrics needed to reopen, click here.

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