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Description of Program and Relief

New York Forward Reopening Plan

Governor Andrew Cuomo released the NY Forward Reopening Plan (the “Reopening Plan”). According to the Reopening Plan, New York will reopen on a regional basis as each region meets certain criteria to reopen. New York has been grouped into ten regions: Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson, New York City, Capital Region and Long Island.

In order to reopen, each region must meet seven metrics. Once those metrics are met, each region will reopen in phases, with at least two weeks in between each phase.

  1. Phase 1: Construction, Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Select Retail for Curbside Pickup Only, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

  2. Phase 2: Professional Services, Finance and Insurance, Retail, Administrative Support, Real Estate, Rental and Leasing

  3. Phase 3: Restaurants, Food Services and Personal Care

  4. Phase 4: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, Education

As of July 20, 2020, all regions have met the metrics to begin Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, and Phase 4 reopening. (Indoor dining does not reopen with Phase 4 for New York City.). In addition, certain low-risk business and recreational activities, including landscaping, gardening, tennis and drive-in movie theaters, have reopened statewide on May 15.

The Governor has also issued additional guidance regarding the plans that every business must have in place, as they reopen, to protect employees and consumers, make physical work space safer, and implement processes that lower risk of infection. In developing these plans, business will need to consider three main factors:

Protections for Employees and Customers: Possible adjustments to workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace; enacting social distancing protocols; and restricting non-essential travel for employees.

Changes to the Physical Workspace: Requiring all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent close contact with others, and implementing strict cleaning and sanitation standards.

Implementing Processes that Meet our Changing Public Health Obligations: Screening individuals when they enter the workplace, or reporting confirmed positives to customers.

The Governor has also launched a regional monitoring dashboard for tracking each region’s progress on the seven metrics. The seven metrics to guide reopening are listed in the following:

  1. Decline in Total Hospitalizations: Sustained decline in the total number of people in the hospital each day, calculated on a three-day rolling average, over the course of 14 days; alternatively, the region’s daily net increase in total hospitalizations has never exceeded 15.

  2. Decline in Deaths: Sustained decline in daily hospital deaths, calculated on a three-day rolling average, over the course of 14 days; alternatively, the region’s daily hospital deaths have never exceeded 5.

  3. New Hospitalizations: Fewer than two new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, measured on a three-day rolling average.

  4. Hospital Bed Capacity: The region must have at least 30 percent of total hospital beds available.

  5. ICU Bed Capacity: The region must have at least 30 percent of ICU beds and 90 days of personal protective equipment available.

  6. Diagnostic Testing Capacity: The region must have the ability to achieve 30 tests per 1,000 people per month.

  7. Contact Tracing Capacity: The New York Department of Health has established region-specific thresholds for the number of contact tracers required, based on the characteristics within each region.

Government or Lead Agency

The Office of the New York State Governor and the New York Department of Health

List of Additional Information

The NY Forward Reopening Plan is available here. The regional monitoring dashboard for tracking each region’s progress on the seven metrics is available here. A reopening guideline for businesses that are eligible for Phase one reopening is available here. A reopening guide for businesses that are eligible for Phase two opening is available here. A reopening guide for businesses that are eligible for Phase three reopening is available here. A reopening guide for businesses that are eligible for Phase four reopening is available here. A FAQ on how the NY Forward Reopening Plan affects businesses is available here.

More information is available on the Governor’s Office website here and here.


© 2020 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. This does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. In some jurisdictions, this publication may be considered attorney advertising. Past representations are no guarantee of future outcomes.

© 2020 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

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