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Posted on Jul 02nd, 2020

Southern Tier Reopening Important Updates: July 2, 2020

Up-to-date information as of today’s date.*

All information is in accordance with New York Forward Guidelines.

Phase 1 Reopening Date: May 15, 2020 – limited industries see below

Phase 2 Reopening Date: May 29, 2020 – limited industries see below

Phase 3 Reopening Date: June 12, 2020 – limited industries see below

Phase 4 Reopening Date: June 26, 2020 – limited industries see below

*All Essential workers will continue operating under current protocols*

The following seven (7) metrics must be met:

  • 14 day decline in hospitalizations OR under 15 new hospitalizations (3-day average)
  • 14 day decline in hospitalized deaths OR under 5 new  (3 day average)
  • New hospitalizations - under 2 per 100K residents (3 day rolling average)
  • Share of total beds available (threshold of 30%)
  • Share of ICU beds available (threshold of 30%)
  • 30 per 1k residents tested monthly (7 day average of new tests per day)
  • 30 contact tracers per 100k residents or to meet current infection rate

This reopening phase is regionally driven and monitored by the members of Southern Tier “Regional Control Room”

A Regional Reopening Dashboard has been created to monitor public health metrics.

Phase 1 Industries Include:

  • Construction (those deemed “non-essential” can now open)
  • Manufacturing and wholesale supply chain
  • Retail- curbside pickup* (includes bookstores and municipal libraries)
  • Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
  • Higher Education Research

Phase 2 Industries Include:

  • All Office-Based Jobs
  • Real Estate Services
  • Commercial Building Management
  • Vehicle Sales, Leases, and Rentals
  • Retail – In-Store Shopping
  • Limited Barbershop and Hair Salon Services
  • Outdoor Dining

Phase 3 Industries Include:

  • Restaurants/Food Services – In-person dining
  • Personal Care

Phase 4 Industries Include:

  • Low-risk Indoor and Outdoor Arts and Entertainment
  • Film and TV Production
  • Higher Education
  • Professional Sports (without fans)

Businesses will have to create a physical work plan considering the following factors:

  • Adjusted workplace hours and shift design
  • Social distancing
  • Non-essential travel restrictions
  • Wearing masks if in frequent contact with others
  • Strict cleaning and sanitation standards
  • Continuous health screenings
  • Continuous tracing, tracking, and reporting
  • Liability for maintaining processes

The Governor announced the NYS Contact Tracing Initiative with an overview of the program and other related resources:

HOW TO AFFIRM YOUR REOPENING PLAN:  An online portal to review, acknowledge, and affirm creation of a plan has been launched at

A coronavirus hotline has been established to report employers NOT FOLLOWING required PPE, hygiene or social distancing guidelines: 1-888-364-3065.

*Essential service industries that have been working during this must also affirm and certify on the online portal*

NEW INFORMATIONR REGARDING INDUSTRY SECTOR DETERMINATION: A new tool is now available to help companies determine whether or not a business is eligible to reopen, and the public health and safety standards with which a business must comply.

This tool uses information about the company County and NAICS code. To access it, please visit:

NY will also reopen statewide limited low-risk businesses and recreational activities as of May 15 including:

  • Landscaping and gardening
  • Outdoor, low-risk recreational activities such as tennis so long as social distancing and proper hygiene are being enforced
  • Drive- in movie theaters so long as social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting procedures are in place


This essential business guidance shall remain in effect for the regions and industries that are not yet within the reopening phases. Revisions to the essential guidance are as follows:

  • Individuals from a state with significant rates of transmission that come to New York for a professional sports activity (e.g., player, coach, training staff, support staff, league staff) may travel to the extent necessary to participate in the activity, but must otherwise remain quarantined.
    • Further guidance on professional sports teams and training facilities can be read and affirmed
  • Social gatherings of 50 people are permitted under Phase IV regulations.
  • Indoor religious gatherings can now operate at 33% capacity.
  • All travelers entering New York from a state with a higher than 10% test positivity rate, over a seven day rolling average, are required to quarantine for a period of 14 days.
  • Workers who voluntarily travel to any of states with a COVID-19 infection rate higher than 10% – who then become quarantined by a public health official as a result - would not be eligible for NYS emergency paid sick leave.
  • Low-risk/moderate-risk youth sports for regions in Phase 3 of reopening can begin on July 6th, except for competitive tournaments requiring travel. A maximum of two spectators per child are permitted to attend.
  • High-risk youth sports are only permitted in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training. For guidance on what ESD determines low or high risk, please review the Statewide Guidelines.
  • The special open enrollment for the New York State of Health - Health Plan Marketplace has been extended for an additional 30 days through July 15, 2020.
  • Operators and administrators of all nursing homes and long care facilities located in regions that have met Phase 2 metrics are required to test all employees for COVID-19 once per week.
  • If the original budget proposed by a school district is not approved by the voters at an election held on June 9, 2020, any resubmission to the voters of the original or revised budget shall be conducted at a later date (TBD). The revote shall not occur before July 9, 2020.
  • Guidance for Phase 3 Industries, which includes restaurants/food service and personal care, has been released here. Phase 3 metrics have still yet to be achieved at this time.
  • Hair salons and barber shops opened under Phase 2 must affirm Phase 3 personal care guidelines, including if they had already affirmed Phase 2 guidelines; businesses must comply with the industry guidance as it applies to their operations.
  • Higher education research has been included under Phase 1 of reopening. Summary and specific guidelines are available under Phase 1 on the New York Forward website.
  • Statewide guidelines have been updated to include information on childcare and day camps, public transportation, and professional sports training facilities.
  • The definition of outdoor dining has been updated to include dining under both fixed roofs and retracting or removable types of roofs.
  • New York State will now allow outdoor graduations with up to 150 participants and attendees beginning June 26th.
  • Houses of worship are permitted to hold non-essential gatherings at no greater than 25% of the indoor capacity under Phase 2; social distancing and DOH cleaning and disinfection protocols are required to be followed.
  • Local government offices may bring non-essential employees back to work two weeks after meeting the metrics to reopen Phase 2.
  • Commercial building owners and retail stores shall have the discretion to require individuals to undergo temperature checks prior to being allowed admittance; admittance may be denied if ay individual refuses to undergo the temperature check or if the temperature reads above DOH guidelines.
  • Under Phase 2, restaurants are permitted to begin outdoor dining services provided customers can be seated at tables that are appropriately distanced.
  • Operators of auto racetracks may begin operations June 3, provided only essential personnel or participants are allowed on site; visitors or spectators are not permitted within the facilities or on premises.
  • Regions that have met Phase 1 metrics of reopening are permitted to allow outdoor, low-risk recreational activities. Businesses providing such activities, as determined by Empire State Development, are permitted to operate.
  • Governor Cuomo announced that beginning June 29, summer day camps may open for operation. No decision has been made at this time on the reopening of sleep away camps.
  • Dentists can reopen statewide as of June 1 and will be subject to state guidance on best practices for safety and social distancing.
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles is to resume limited remote services via mail and secure drop boxes. Commercial road tests are permitted to resume in all regions that have reopened and all other road tests are to resume in Phase 3.
  • As of May 28, businesses are permitted to deny entry to individuals not wearing masks or face-coverings.
  • New York State is permitting certain commercial and recreational activities to operate statewide with restrictions. Refer to the New York Forward Statewide Guidelines for more specific regulations regarding Lake and Ocean Beaches, Religious and Funeral Services, and Racing.
    • Indoor religious and funeral services are permitted to resume with a limit/capacity of 10 participants. Social distancing, hygiene, and PPE regulations must be followed.
    • Lake and ocean beaches are required to reduce capacity by at least 50%, ensure physical distancing of six feet between individuals and ten feet between family/household blankets, and follow both PPE and hygiene regulations.
    • All participants and non-essential staff are restricted from attending racing or training programs. All physical distancing, PPE, and hygiene regulations are to be followed.
  • Families of front-line workers who died of COVID 19 will be provided death benefits.
  • New York professional sports leagues will begin training camps
  • A blue-ribbon commission focused on improving telehealth and broadband access has been established
  • Campgrounds are now open for “family” camping – i.e. this does NOT apply to summer day camping programs
  • Veterinarian services are open – emergency and non-emergency.
  • Summer school will be conducted through distance learning
  • The sales tax filing deadline has been extended to June 22, 2020
  • Watkins Glen International and Tioga Downs (horse racetrack) were given authorization to open without spectators effective June 1, 2020.
  • Acupuncture, prescribed by a medical professional, has been added
  • Retail, in regions that are not within the first phase of the state's regional re-opening plan, delivery for orders placed remotely via phone or online at non-essential retail establishments; provided, however, that only one employee is physically present at the business location to fulfill orders has been added
  • Services, auto maintenance has been added along with auto repair; pet grooming to maintain the animal’s health has been added; gardening and horticulture has been added
  • Services to maintain the health, safety, and sanitation, specialized maintenance, including but not limited to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and pool maintenance has been added; cleaning and sanitation services has been added; occupational safety and health professionals has been added; commercial moving services has been added
  • Non-motorized boat use and rentals, such as row boats, kayaks, canoes; and golf and driving ranges, except miniature (mini) golf, with food and retail services subject to the restrictions that are currently in effect within the region;
  • Some personal care will be considered “professional service” and can be open in Phase 2 including hair salons. Other things such nail, massage, tattoo parlors and others TBD
  • Pet Grooming has always been deemed essential the service is “directly related to the health and well-being of the animal”
  • Churches can screen for “drive through” services
  • Optometry is considered essential but non-emergency dental is not
  • Municipalities can operate under 50% capacity but must adhere to all state guidelines
  • DMVs will remain closed by EO that was extended to 6/6/20; Guidance on commercial (CDL) licensing forthcoming
  • Guidance has not yet provided guidance on summer camps but are reviewing and expect to be released in June


  • Develop your reopening work plan: A physical plan must be created and kept on-site at your place of business;
  • Review existing policies/procedures related to reopening: remote work policies, technology usage, insurance coverage, other;
  • Consult with your industry association and/or attorney on any changes to employment law;
  • Begin communication with employees as often and as soon as possible so they know what will change, what will be expected of them.
  • To send outreach to the NY Forward Reopening Advisory Board: email

We’re all in this together. Remember: the actions we take today will either help or hinder our recovery.