The Wrap Up – May 16, 2020

Empire State Development Business Reopening Tool

The Governor’s Office has made us aware that last night New York State launched a new business reopening tool that uses NAICS codes to clarify what businesses are allowed to reopen.

We have been informed the new tool will not impact essential business designations. We strongly recommend all clients with business operations in the State test this new tool with your NAICS codes to ensure it reflects your individual business’ current operating status.

Remember, the State is reopening regionally so if your business/industry has multiple locations in the State you will need to check each by county.   

The tool is located here: https://www.businessexpress.ny.gov/app/nyforward.

Reopening Activities without Crowds or Gatherings

Governor Cuomo today announced that horse racing tracks across New York State and Watkins Glen International racetrack will be allowed to open, without fans, as of June 1.  The State will be issuing guidance within the next week on how these facilities can open safely.

Update on Elective Surgeries

Westchester and Suffolk counties now are eligible to conduct elective surgeries and ambulatory care.  The full list of counties where elective surgery has been approved can be found in today’s press release, located here.

COVID-19 Numbers                                                     

Thankfully, we continue to remain on the far side of the COVID-19 plateau. That said, the number of deaths in the State has increased by 157 since yesterday.

The Wrap Up – May 15, 2020

Five Upstate Regions Beginning Phase 1 Reopening Today

Five upstate New York regions – the North Country, Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley and the Southern Tier – have begun Phase 1 reopening operations.  For the remaining five regions – Western New York, the Capital Region, the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island – “New York State on PAUSE” business restrictions and social protocols have been extended through May 28.  Governor Cuomo today stated that if any of the five currently closed regions hits the required COVID-19 benchmarks between now and May 28, that region also will be approved for Phase 1 reopening. 

The Governor reiterated that local governments will be in charge of managing the reopening process.  This includes a daily monitoring of COVID-19 metrics that the State is posting online, enforcing business compliance and social distancing protocols, maintaining required testing and tracing, and responding to inquiries and public health developments through the regional control rooms.

Additional Guidelines and Protocols for Phase 1 Businesses

The Governor today announced additional reopening guidelines for Phase 1 businesses.  A full list of guidelines can be found here.  The additional guidelines announced today are as follows:

Residential/Commercial Construction:

  • All workers must have masks and wear them when within six feet of another worker
  • Employers must provide masks to all employees
  • No congregate meetings

Retail Business Owners – Curbside Pickup

  • Employee and purchaser in vehicle must wear a mask, gloves preferred
  • Hand sanitizer must be made available

Retail Business Owners – In-Store Pickup

  • Requires ordering ahead – pre-arranged orders
  • Social distancing required in store
  • No more than 50 percent of maximum occupancy
  • Patrons must wear masks
  • Store employees must wear masks, gloves preferred
  • Hand sanitizer must be made available

Multi-State Agreement to Reopen Beaches for Memorial Day Weekend

New York State has reached a multi-state agreement with New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware to reopen beaches for Memorial Day Weekend.  State and local beaches and lakeshores were provided minimum conditions for operating, as were city, town and county beaches.  The press release containing these requirements can be found here

Federal Assistance and State Budget Cuts

The Governor previously has stated that New York State will be forced to make 20 percent across-the-board cuts to schools, local governments and hospitals unless it receives sufficient federal assistance in the next stimulus bill.  When asked today about the timing of these potential cuts, the Governor remained evasive, implying that he will await federal action before making his own budget adjustments.

COVID-19 Numbers                                                     

Thankfully, we continue to remain on the far side of the COVID-19 plateau. That said, the number of deaths in the State has increased by 132 since yesterday.

The Wrap Up – May 14, 2020

Five Upstate Regions Approved for Phase I Reopening Tomorrow

Central New York has become the fifth region in New York State that will begin its Phase I reopening tomorrow, May 15 at 12:01am (joining the North Country, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, and Southern Tier regions). 

Governor Cuomo today emphasized that local governments will be in charge of managing the phased-in economic reopening process, which must include a daily monitoring of COVID-19 metrics that the State is posting online. Businesses’ and individuals’ compliance with State directives also will be enforced by local authorities.  The Governor stated that specific questions should be directed to the appropriate “regional control room,” whose membership can be found here.

COVID-Related Illness in Children

The NYS Department of Health (DOH) continues to investigate what may be a rare, COVID-related illness in children.  The Governor today announced that New York has issued first-in-the-nation criteria defining this syndrome to healthcare professionals across the State.  DOH also has directed hospitals to prioritize testing for children with symptoms of this illness.

Federal Assistance for the MTA

This morning Governor Cuomo spoke to President Trump, who agreed to expedite $3.9 billion in COVID-related federal assistance to the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority).  The first installment for this aid of $500 million was disbursed today.

Manufacturing Medical Equipment in New York State

In an effort to avoid future shortages of emergency medical equipment, the State has approved an initial $3 million in grants to businesses to manufacture medical supplies and equipment in New York State.  Entities interested in growing or starting medical supply businesses should contact Empire State Development at: www.esd.ny.gov.

COVID-19 Numbers                                                     

Thankfully, we continue to remain on the far side of the COVID-19 plateau. That said, the number of deaths in the State has increased by 157 since yesterday.

The Wrap Up – May 13, 2020

Elective Surgeries

Today Governor Cuomo announced that 12 additional counties are now eligible to restart elective surgeries, leaving Erie as the only upstate county that is still restricted from performing these types of procedures. The complete list of counties that are restricted from performing elective surgeries is below:

  • Erie
  • Rockland
  • Westchester
  • Bronx
  • New York
  • Kings
  • Queens
  • Richmond
  • Nassau
  • Suffolk

Another Region is Ready to Open

It was announced that the North Country will be the fourth region to be eligible to begin reopening this coming Friday, May 15. This region met the final criteria for eligibility by increasing the number of test it performed to at least 30 per 1,000 residents monthly, going off of a seven day average. 

Federal Support

The Governor revisited the proposed federal American First bill and reiterated the importance of maintaining the currently included State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction provisions in the final language. If the SALT provisions are kept in the bill then the State cost of about $29 billion per year could in turn be used to offset the burden that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the State.

Governor Cuomo and Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland (who is also Chair of the National Governors Association) released a statement today about the importance of funding state and local governments to the tune of “$500 billion in fiscal support for state budgetary shortfalls resulting from the pandemic, enhanced FMAP funding to provide healthcare to our most vulnerable, and 100 percent federal cost share for FEMA response and recovery efforts.”

COVID-19 Numbers                                                     

Thankfully, we continue to remain on the far side of the COVID-19 plateau. That said, the number of deaths in the State has increased by 166 since yesterday.

The Wrap Up – May 12, 2020

Reopening Process

Governor Cuomo today stressed the State must continue to follow CDC guidelines and reopening criteria while also learning from what other countries and states have done when Regions begin the reopening process.

The status of each region in the State will be updated daily with their standing made public here regarding eligibility for reopening. Currently the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier Regions are set to begin Phase 1 of reopening on Friday, May 15th. The counties within these eligible regions are as follows:

Finger Lakes

  • Monroe
  • Orleans
  • Genesee
  • Wyoming
  • Livingston
  • Ontario
  • Wayne
  • Seneca
  • Yates

Mohawk Valley

  • Oneida
  • Herkimer
  • Otsego
  • Schoharie
  • Fulton
  • Montgomery

Southern Tier

  • Delaware
  • Chenango
  • Broom
  • Tioga
  • Tompkins
  • Chemung
  • Schuyler
  • Steuben

Federal Assistance

The Governor returned his focus today to the need for federal assistance for state and local governments. He stated that New York would need $61 billion in federal support or it would need to cut spending by 20% for schools, hospitals and local governments. 

To accompany this request he announced that today he and Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland (who is also Chair of the National Governors Association) are making a joint bi-partisan statement to again ask for unrestricted federal dollars for state and local governments. He indicated that the statement would ask to use the money for landlord and renter assistance, payroll protection, funeral costs, reinstatement of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction and funding for state testing and tracing programs.

Americans First

Today Governor Cuomo announced the proposal of the Americans First Law. This federal law would be proposed by New York’s Congressional Delegation – Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Rep. Thomas Suozzi, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. José Serrano, Rep. Joe Morelle, Rep. Adriano Espaillat and Rep. Yvette Clarke.

The law would aim ensure that any corporation that received federal stimulus dollars would have to in return hire back as many employees as were originally furloughed. The idea, according to the Governor, would be to stop “corporate bailout boondoggles” allowing companies looking to make a profit from the federal stimulus dollars to not fully spend the money and in turn pass the “profits” along to the shareholders. There has been no response from NY’s federal representatives on this proposal as of yet.

COVID-19 Numbers                                                     

Thankfully, we continue to remain on the far side of the COVID-19 plateau. That said, the number of deaths in the State has increased by 195 since yesterday. To help put some perspective on where the State stands, the hospitalization rate in the last 24 hours continues to be roughly the same as it was on March 19, three days before the “New York State on PAUSE” program originally went into effect on March 22.