Five of New York State's 10 regions will enter phase 1 of the state's cautious plans to resume economic activity, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the restrictions on Governor Andrew Cuomo's PAUSE order expire at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 15, in Central New York, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Souther Tier and the Finger Lakes regions.
Beginning Friday morning, non-essential construction, manufacturing and agricultural operations in those five regions can resume. Additionally, retail outlets in those regions can begin offering curbside order pickup.
From there, Cuomo says state, regional, county and local officials will closely monitor the data "day-to-day" and determine whether to expand to phase 2 or re-enact some limitations.
The governor has repeatedly preached caution on reopening, asserting that a false start would be even more economically damaging that the initial statewide closures.
Cuomo cited the recent reports of a COVID-related inflammatory condition in children as reason for continued caution. He said that scientists still do not fully understand whom the virus affects most acutely or why.
Each region of New York must meet seven reopening benchmarks from the Centers for Disease Control, tied to a region's population and its healthcare infrastructure. As of Thursday morning, New York City met four of the seven benchmarks. City officials have for several weeks targeted June as the month the city would begin inching back towards normal life.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that NYC's reopening would be "slow and steady," noting that large crowds would likely be discouraged for several more months.
Also on Thursday, the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware announced they would begin entering their own respective reopenings next week.
NJ's Governor Phil Murphy announced that state parks and beaches would reopen May 22 but with additional measures to encourage social distancing.
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