New York State uses a regional and phased approach to reopening businesses under the coronavirus pandemic.
As spikes in coronavirus cases rise in many of the country, New York City has opted not to allow indoor dining in early July as planned, while other parts of New York State continue to reopen businesses.
The fluid situation in New York is reflected across the U.S., with reopening plans rolled back in several states, including Texas, Florida, parts of California and elsewhere.
Here, we will examine businesses reopening in New York State, the world’s 10th largest economy, as the nation’s governors refine and update plans to allow companies to operate again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York State Reopening Plan
Dubbed New York Forward, the state’s reopening plan divides the state into regions. Each region is then assigned a phase based in its readiness in relation to COVID-19.
Every region in New York State is out of Phase 1, and only New York City remains in Phase 2. (New York City specifically will be discussed below.)
Under Phase 3 of the plan, the state focuses on two industries:
Restaurants and food services
Personal care, i.e., non-hair related salons such as spas, tattoo shops, nail salons, etc.
Arranging outdoor tables at least six feet away from each other
Mask-wearing by employees
Mask-wearing by patrons unless seated
Separate entrances for employees and patrons, when possible
Meanwhile, best practices for restaurants and food services include the typical suggestions about social distancing, modified work stations, etc., as well as industry-specific guidance about not having more than one employee in a walk-in refrigerator, encouraging customers to place orders by phone, contactless pickup and more.
For personal care businesses under phase 3, many of the same guidelines are in place — six-foot social distancing, mask-wearing by employees and customers, etc.
Here again, however, there are guidelines for the industry:
Closing waiting rooms (mandatory)
Six feet between customer seating areas (mandatory)
Posting designs on windows of tattoo parlors (recommended)
As expected, Phase 4 features fewer mandatory guidelines for reopening — below are some of the highlights for each category. Check the state’s website for recommended best practices.
Masks for people within six feet of another (roommates excluded)
Figuring out needs for those in quarantine
Following state health guidelines for gyms, dining halls, etc.
Low-Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment
New York outlines examples of this industry as parks, zoos, historical sites, outdoor museums and the similar institutions.
Mandatory guidelines include:
Operating at fewer than 33 percent capacity
Limited indoor capacity
Social distancing (except those of the same household)
Masks for patrons when within six feet (at cash registers, for example)
Employees must wear masks
Closure of high-risk exhibits
Low-Risk Indoor Arts and Entertainment
These businesses New York calls indoor museums, aquariums and more. Mandatory guidelines include:
Limited to 25 percent occupancy
Employees must wear masks
Calculating and enforcing max occupancy for smaller exhibits
Close high-risk interactive exhibits
For industries in media production — movie, TV streaming productions and similar industries — the mandatory guidelines are more robust.
Presence of cast and crew limited to 50 percent
Ensuring social distancing
Following safety protocols for hair, makeup and more
Mask-wearing, with exceptions for performers
Banning non-essential personal from locations
Must be able to secure locations from the public
Pro Sports with No Fans
Among the most widely discussed industries during the pandemic has been professional sports. As the heading here indicates, no fans is one of the mandatory guidelines, but there are several others, including:
Social distancing except when necessary
Mask-wearing except under certain circumstances
Mask-wearing on the sidelines
Not allowing fans to congregate near the venue
Allowing only essential personnel on-site
Limiting the number of people on the field primarily to athletes and coaches
Amusement parks, zoos, carnivals, bowling alleys, etc.
For the businesses that can begin operating again, New York offered mandatory guidelines and recommendations, which are much more robust than those in Phases 3 and 4. Employers can check the links below for further guidance based on their industry.
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