ALBANY — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to reopen regions of the state in coordinated phases, starting with the construction and manufacturing industries.
During his daily briefing on Sunday, Cuomo teased an outline for the state’s economic restart plan as New York’s death and hospitalization rates continue to inch downward.
New York is under a sweeping stay-home order until at least May 15. After that date, regions that have seen the CDC-recommended 14-day decline in hospitalizations could begin to open some parts of the construction and manufacturing sectors, Cuomo said. On Sunday, New York’s statewide hospitalizations dropped to 12,839 — it’s the first time the number has been fewer than 13,000 since March 31.
After at least two weeks of monitoring the effects of the first phase, the second portion of business openings will be based on how “essential” their services are and how able they are to operate with social distancing for customers and employees.
Businesses will have to get “creative” in their operations and be able to prove they have correct staffing and medical equipment to gain reauthorization to open, Cuomo said. Baseball, for example, might first open without spectators. Some experts are skeptical of how the logistics of even fan-free gatherings might play out.
“If you could make the economics work without the seat sales, and you could have teams play without the seat sales, but you had the television revenue, and whatever else went with that, then we’re in a different place,” Cuomo said. “Be creative. Try to figure it out.”
Schools would likely be included in a large-scale reopening during the second phase because of the services they provide, but Cuomo said it’s still too early to make a decision on what’s next for the state’s more than 700 districts. Cuomo has not closed schools for the rest of the academic year, and he noted that districts are having discussions about whether or not summer school will be an option to make up for lost days.
“On many of these things I’m not really comfortable getting too far ahead of ourselves,” Cuomo said. “You want to talk about a two-week window? I think that’s an intelligent window.”
Cuomo said the effort will not be entirely consistent across the state, but will be collaborative, and ideally coordinated with neighboring states. New York City and its suburbs will be the most “problematic,” he said, and the state will work to ensure the downstate region’s transportation systems, schools, beaches and parks all adhere to the same guidelines. Earlier in the day, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a series of panels to brainstorm the city’s economic restart.
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