Cuomo says construction and factories will be first to open

— Still frame from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s April 26 press briefing

Governor Andrew Cuomo said it is important to keep the COVID-19 infection rate below one person infecting one other person. “Upstate, interestingly, it’s .9 … upstate the infection rate is one person infects .9 percent. Downstate, one person is infecting .75,” Cuomo said.

ALBANY — On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined a phased plan to reopen New York, beginning with construction and manufacturing.

Once a region has a 14-day decline in its hospitalization rate, it can begin phased re-opening, according to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In New York State, the overall hospitalization rate is down as is the number of intubations. The number of new COVID-19 cases is down, too — to about 1,000 on Saturday, bringing the statewide total to 288,045 confirmed cases, the governor announced.

The state will adjust its plan, Cuomo said, as it continues to monitor the hospitalization rate, the infection rate, and the number of positive antibody tests, as well as the overall public health impact.

Cuomo noted that hospitalization rates were very different upstate than downstate.

The infection rates are also different. Cuomo said it is important to keep the infection rate below one person infecting one other person. “Upstate, interestingly, it’s .9 … upstate the infection rate is one person infects .9 percent. Downstate, one person is infecting .75,” Cuomo said.

“We’re going to reopen in phases, a regional analysis on what we call our economic regions that we've been working with the state on, and those regions have been working together on economic policy, et cetera,” said Cuomo.

He also said of the phased reopening, “All of this is done in a multi-state context with our neighboring states, most relevant, especially downstate. Downstate is obviously the most complicated situation.”

Cuomo said that government decisions would be made in partnership with business decisions.

“In terms of businesses thinking about the new normal, think about it in terms of people,” Cuomo said, going on to pose a series of questions: “How are you going to protect your people? What are you going to be doing differently with your employees? Your actual physical space, what does the physical space look like when you reopen in this new normal?

“What are you doing about PPE equipment?” he said of personal protective equipment. “How are you cleaning? What’s the hygiene? What’s the access? What's the screening? How do you move people? What’s the travel and transportation? Then what processes can you put in place to make your business less risky, right? How can you train people? How you can communicate about this disease? Can you do testing in your workplace?”

On Sunday, Cuomo highlighted these points of the phased-in reopening:

— Phase one will include opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk;

— Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered “more essential” with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered “less essential” or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. As the infection rate declines, the pace of reopening businesses will be increased’;

— The region must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area;

— There will be two weeks in between each phase to monitor the effects of the re-opening and ensure hospitalization and infection rates are not increasing;

— This plan will be implemented with multi-state coordination, especially in downstate New York. The plan will also coordinate the opening of transportation systems, parks, schools, beaches, and businesses with special attention on summer activities for downstate, public housing and low-income communities, food banks and child care; and

— The phased reopening will also be based on individual business and industry plans that include new measures to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business. The state is consulting with local leaders in each region and industry to formulate these plans.

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