After more than two months of mandatory lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Long Island, including the East End, has been named among eight other regions in New York State to begin Phase 1 of reopening tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27. Essential businesses that were already operating will remain open, but Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward plan will now allow lower risk businesses to return if they meet certain criteria.
Businesses will reopen in phases on a region-by-region basis, with two weeks between each phase to allow state and local leaders to monitor the effects of the reopening and ensure hospitalization and infection rates are not increasing before permitting more economic activity in the next phase.
The phase-in plan prioritizes businesses considered to have stronger economic impact and low risk of infection for workers and customers. If all goes well, businesses considered to have less economic impact, and those that present a higher risk of spreading infection will follow.
Various sectors are included in Phase 1, such as construction, agriculture, limited retail, manufacturing and wholesale. According to an announcement from NY State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, reopened sectors will have some limitations to ensure a safe transition. In other words, don’t expect to be hitting the shops along Sag Harbor or East Hampton Main Streets like it’s summer 2019, but the offerings just got a whole lot better.
Thiele’s announcement offers a detailed list of specific businesses that will be permitted to return to work in each sector. That information is available below.
Building equipment contractors; building finishing contractors; foundation, structure and building exterior contractors; highway, street and bridge construction; land subdivision; nonresidential building construction; residential building construction; utility system construction.
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Other animal and crop production; support activities for animal and crop production; support activities for forestry.
Retail (Limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off)
Clothing stores; direct selling establishments; electronics and appliance stores; electronic shopping and mail-order houses; furniture and home furnishing stores; florists; general merchandise stores; health and personal care stores; jewelry, luggage and leather goods stores; lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores; office supplies, stationary and gift stores; used merchandise stores; shoe stores; sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores; other miscellaneous store retailers.
Apparel manufacturing; computer and electronic product manufacturing; electric lighting equipment manufacturing; fabricated metal production manufacturing; furniture and related product manufacturing; leather and allied product manufacturing; machinery manufacturing; nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing; paper manufacturing; petroleum and coal products manufacturing; plastics and rubber products manufacturing; printing and related support activities; textile mills and textile product mills; wood product manufacturing; other miscellaneous manufacturing.
Apparel, piece goods and notions; chemical and allied products; furniture and home furnishing; household appliances and electrical/electronic goods; machinery, equipment and supplies; metal and mineral (except petroleum); paper and paper product; professional and commercial equipment and supplies; electronic markets and agents and brokers; miscellaneous durable goods and nondurable goods.
In order to reopen with NY State’s blessing, all businesses, including essential businesses, must develop a COVID-19 health and safety plan, which should include the ways in which the business intends to comply with the issued guidance to safely reopen.
A complete guide to Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward reopening plan is available at forward.ny.gov.