Coronavirus News: Parts of New York expected to reopen this week after hitting 7 benchmarks

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Parts of New York are expected to reopen this week as Governor Andrew Cuomo updated how close regions are to hitting seven benchmarks required to restart their economies.

He said the Finger Lakes (Rochester), Mohawk Valley (Utica) and Southern Tier (Binghamton, Ithaca, Elmira) regions will be the first to meet all benchmarks by the end of the week.

As of May 15, they will be able to reopen certain low risk businesses and recreational activities, including landscaping and gardening, outdoor low risk recreational activities (i.e. tennis) and drive-in movie theaters.

"We'll also open certain businesses statewide, which are low risk," Cuomo said. "Landscaping, gardening, low-risk recreational opportunities like tennis, drive-in movie theaters. Talk about going back to the future. Back to drive-in movie theaters."

Cuomo said Central New York and North Country have met six of the seven metrics and are slated to reopen next, while the Long Island and Mid-Hudson regions have only reached five of the seven required metrics.

New York City is only at four of seven.

The benchmarks are as follows:
1. 14-day decline in hospitalizations OR under 15 new hospitalizations (3-day avg)
2. 14-day decline in hospitalized deaths OR under 5 new (3-day avg)
3. New hospitalizations: Under 2 per 100,000 residents (3-day rolling avg)
4. Share of total hospital beds available (threshold of 30%)
5. Share of ICU beds available (threshold of 30%)
6. 30 per 1,000 residents tested monthly (7-day avg of new tests per day)
7. 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents or to meet current infection rate.

Cuomo said New York is "on the other side of the mountain," with indicators continuing to decline and 161 new deaths and only 488 new cases.

Reopening will be phased in as follows:

Phase 1:
-Construction
-Manufacturing and wholesale supply chain
-Retail-curbside pickup
-Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing

Phase 2:
-Professional Services
-Finance and Insurance
-Retail
-Administrative Support
-Real Estate/Rental Leasing

Phase 3:
-Restaurants/Food services
-Hotels/Accommodations

Phase 4:
-Arts/Entertainment/Recreation
-Education

Businesses must also implement safety procedures:

People:
-Adjust workplace house and shift design
-Social distancing
-Non-essential travel restricted

Places:
-Masks required if in frequent contact with others
-Strict cleaning and sanitation standards

Process:
-Continuous health screening to enter workplace
-Continuous tracing, tracking and reporting
-Liability

Local officials will also be responsible for:
-Testing and tracing in place
-Monitoring the infection rate with the hospitals
-Ensuring business compliance
-Local governments must be in communications with each other
-Regional control room: Made up of all the professionals watching the situation develop.

"We're looking region to region across the state as to where it would be appropriate to reopen," Cuomo said. "Factor one is just the numbers. Infection, rate, et cetera, factor two is what local governments have to do to be ready and working together with counterparts in that region."

The next date to watch is June 6. Cuomo says every two weeks he'll revisit if any other parts of the state can start the reopening process.

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