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Posted on May 26th, 2020

Southern Tier Reopening: Important Updates May 26, 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

*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

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:

  • 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
  • Veterarnarian 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.