May 11, 2020 - Health

New York to open certain low-risk businesses statewide this week

New York will ease some coronavirus-related restrictions and open "certain low risk businesses and recreational activities" statewide starting May 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

Why it matters: It's a sign that New York has seen the worst of its coronavirus outbreak and is slowly looking to return to normalcy, though Cuomo has cautioned at every chance he gets that a rush to reopen without proper precautions in place could be devastating.

Details: As part of New York's modified restrictions:

  • Retail stores will be allowed to do curbside pickup, while essential retail will continue working under previous restrictions.
  • Low-risk businesses can open statewide, such as landscape and gardening.
  • Residents will be allowed to participate in low-risk outdoor activities like tennis and go to drive-in movie theaters.
  • Local officials will be responsible for having testing and contact tracing systems in place.
  • Local officials will also have to monitor infection rates on a "day-to-day basis, if not an hour-to-hour basis," Cuomo said.

Cuomo also mandated that regions must meet seven metrics in order to reopen:

  1. 14-day decline in hospitalizations or under 15 new hospitalizations (three-day average).
  2. 14-day decline in hospitalized deaths or under five new (three-day average).
  3. New hospitalizations — under two per 100,000 residents (three-day rolling average).
  4. Share of total beds available (threshold of 30%).
  5. Share of ICU beds available (threshold of 30%).
  6. 30 per 1,000 residents tested monthly (seven-day average of new tests per day).
  7. 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents or to meet the current infection rate.

What he's saying:

"Depending on how intelligently you increase activity will be the possible effect on the spread of the virus. You need to know what the impact is. You need to know it in real time. And you need to be in a position to respond. If it does not go well and you see that infection rate moving, because the hospitals tell you they see an increase or because your testing data shows an increase, you have to be able to pull the plug."

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