After three months of lockdown, New York City enters phase one of reopening this week. And there’s a lot of information going around right now that needs some clarification, luckily I’ve broken it down for you.
While this step is good news in terms of coronavirus recovery, it doesn’t necessarily mean that things are going to be all that different than they have been. In short, this phase of reopening does not permit large social gatherings or the reopening of restaurants and bars, so for now you’ll still need to order online or grab your drink to go.
Not only does this reopening indicate that we, as a city, have seemingly flattened the curve — or to use the Governor’s words “crushed it” — but it also means that a hefty chunk of our workforce will be restored. Reports indicate that as many as 400,000 people may return to work during this first phase. But who are these workers and where are they going?
Phase one of reopening includes the following industries:
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Retail (limited to curbside pick up and drop off)
In order to reach this initial phase of the reopening process, specific benchmarks relating to the coronavirus had to have been met. In other words, the fact that we started the process means that the city has reported a consistent decline in three categories: total hospitalizations, deaths, new hospitalizations, and an increase in five healthcare-related fields: hospital bed capacity, ICU bed capacity, diagnostic testing and contact-tracing.
If you are heading back to work this week, or you are an essential worker that has continued to work during lockdown, be prepared to encounter more people as the city begins to reopen, especially on your commute. Wear proper PPE to protect yourself and others and check the full description of these industries below for a comprehensive rundown of what’s opening.
And to find out if your business is eligible to reopen, you can follow the prompts on the NYS reopen lookup tool. If you are a small business owner whose business has been hurt by the pandemic, consider applying for a NYS Covid-19 Small Business Loan. Otherwise, here is a breakdown of the guidelines for the reopening of the above-listed industries:
This selector encompasses:
Building Equipment Contractors
Building Finishing Contractors
Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors
Highway, Street and Bridge Construction
Nonresidential Building Construction
Residential Building Construction
Utility System Construction
And all construction sites and workers must comply with physical distancing rules and CDC cleaning and hygiene protocol. Employers are also required to provide employees with proper PPE, including facemasks, which workers must wear when appropriate and replace after extensive use or dirtying. Employers should have received state-issued guidelines on these protocols and are responsible for going over such guidelines with their employees, things like keeping a log of people they have come in contact with and notifying supervisors and the state as soon as a positive Covid-19 case arises. Lastly employers have been asked to implement mandatory health screening assessments that might entail a temperature check or completion of symptom-survey before starting work. You can find more information on these requirements here.
And likely the most of our collective concern:
Retail (limited to curbside pick up and drop off):
Phase one includes delivery, curbside, and in-store pickup service only for the following businesses:
Direct Selling Establishments
Electronics and Appliance Stores
Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses
Furniture and Home Furnishing Stores
General Merchandise Stores
Health and Personal Care Stores
Jewelry, Luggage, and Leather Goods Stores
Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores
Office Supplies, Stationery, and Gift Stores
Used Merchandise Stores
Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument and Book Stores
Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers
And if you plan to participate in the reopening by frequenting some of your favorite stores and shops, here’s what you need to know: physical distancing applies in stores, no more than 50% occupancy is permitted in stores, designated areas for pick-ups and deliveries must be established, and business owners and managers must “post social distancing markers using tape or signs that denote 6 ft. of spacing in commonly used and other applicable areas”. Free facemasks must also be provided to employees and similar to the construction guidelines listed above, businesses must comply with CDC hygiene protocol and mandatory screenings.
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting:
This sector includes:
Other Animal Production
Other Crop Production
Support Activities for Animal Production
Support Activities for Crop Production
Support Activities for Forestry
The guidelines here essentially fall in line with those mandated in construction. You can read the fine print here.
Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing
Electric Lighting Equipment Manufacturing
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing
Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing
Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing
Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing
Printing and Related Support Activities
Textile Product Mills
Wood Product Manufacturing
Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing
Guidelines for returning to work in manufacturing are largely in agreement with those of previously mentioned industries, to find specifics for manufacturing click here.
Apparel, Piece Goods, and Notions Merchant Wholesalers
Chemical and Allied Products Merchant Wholesalers
Furniture and Home Furnishing Merchant Wholesalers
Household Appliances and Electrical and Electronic Goods Merchant Wholesalers
Machinery, Equipment, and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
Metal and Mineral (except Petroleum) Merchant Wholesalers
Paper and Paper Product Merchant Wholesalers
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers
Miscellaneous Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers
Miscellaneous Nondurable Goods Merchant Wholesalers
Again, guidelines are pretty much the same as those already stated. You can get more information here.
Cover photo borrowed from the Governor’s website.
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