Reopen News: Mid-Hudson Region enters Phase 1 of reopening

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Some of the first areas in New York to shut down due to the coronavirus finally got a chance to get back to business Tuesday, as the Mid-Hudson region started reopening.

But, as with everything during this pandemic, there will be restrictions as officials try to keep any possibility of a second wave at bay.

New Rochelle is really where the country saw one of its first large outbreak through COVID-19 community spread.

Now that community, along with the rest of Westchester County, has begun Phase One of its reopening.

RELATED: The phases of reopening in New York

The outbreak in New Rochelle centered around Young Israel, the orthodox synagogue where hundreds of members were quarantined in early March.

That led to Governor Cuomo locking down part of the community to contain the spread. As of Tuesday, there are zero cases of COVID-19 in that one-mile containment zone.

The Mid-Hudson region has met the criteria to reopen, including a decline in the number of deaths. The reopening involves putting contact tracers in place.

The Mid-Hudson region includes Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster, Orange and Sullivan counties.

Construction, manufacturing and some non-essential retail were able to reopen for curbside pick-up only.

For the first time in more than two months, stores selling items like books and clothing were able to open their doors in some capacity.

The time was running out on small businesses in the area, so store owners finally feel relief.

"We're gonna get through this but we need to reach the day when people will be back in stores for sure," said Mark Fowler with Bronx River Books.

This will be a small but cautious step back towards normal.

"Obviously, I want things to open, we want things... but safely," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "We don't want another outbreak to happen. We don't want people's lives at stake for opening something up too soon. If they're not smart, the number will go up, and then we'll have to slow down the reopening."

Long island isn't far behind. Residents there have also seen a decline in deaths, but still need to put more contact tracers in place.

They will begin Phase One of reopening on Wednesday.

Without a uptick in any of the criteria, like infections or deaths, the Mid-Hudson region could consider Phase Two of reopening in two weeks.

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