I write to update you on the COVID-19 pandemic and share some news on the state’s reopening process.
Starting today, five regions of New York — Mohawk Valley, Central New York, Southern Tier, the North Country and the Finger Lakes — begin Phase One of reopening. Every business is required to develop a written plan that puts the safety of their customers and employees first.
What does that mean for residents of these regions? Retail stores will be able to reopen for curbside pickup, or in-store pickup. Residential and commercial construction can resume, and so can manufacturing. Greenhouses and nurseries can reopen, as can several other industries outlined here.
If you live in another region, “New York on PAUSE” remains in effect. However, as soon as your region hits the benchmarks, it can begin to reopen immediately. To see where your region stands, visit the state’s Regional Dashboard.
The state has implemented new changes statewide. Landscaping can resume, and drive-in movie theaters are permitted to reopen across the state. New Yorkers can engage in low-risk outdoor recreational activities, like tennis. On Friday of Memorial Day weekend, state beaches will open too, with lowered capacity and heightened precautions to ensure the safety of beachgoers.
But we are not out of the woods yet. Coronavirus is still spreading. Yesterday, there were 2,762 new COVID cases. 432 people were hospitalized and, saddest of all, 132 New Yorkers succumbed to the virus. This is an unfathomable loss.
As some regions begin to reopen, and as the weather gets warmer, it is more important than ever that we continue to take precautions to reduce the spread of the virus. That means wearing masks in public, keeping six feet of distance from others, and washing your hands frequently with soap.
Remember that we take these precautions not only for our own health, but for the health of our family, friends and neighbors. It’s about respect. Respect for other people and respect for the frontline workers and health care professionals who have helped carry us through the worst of this crisis.
As we enter the next phase, the state will continue to rely on science, data and facts to guide us. We will carefully monitor health information to avoid a second deadly wave of infection. It would be devastating to go through this hell all over again.
We have flattened the curve and saved lives by our actions. We can all be proud of that. And we can be prouder still if we continue this progress in the weeks ahead.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo