New York

Everything You Need to Know About New York's Reopening Guidelines

NBC Universal, Inc.

What to Know

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "PAUSE" order is set to expire May 15; he has indicated he may let it expire in some parts of the state while extending it in others
  • Cuomo outlined details of his regional reopening strategy for New York state; it's based on four core factors comprising seven metrics
  • As of Monday, three regions meet the seven metrics to reopen. They'll have to finalize logistics before Friday, Cuomo said

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he expected to allow his "PAUSE" directive to expire in some parts of the state after May 15, kicking off a pivotal week in the weeks-long shutdown.

Reopening is an "art form," Cuomo previously said. It's far more complicated than shutting the state down. However, a number of regions seem to be in good standing to begin reopening, the governor said.

On Monday, during his daily coronavirus press briefing, Cuomo stressed once again that regions must meet seven key metrics in order to reopen:

  1. Regions must have at least a 14-day decline in hospitalizations or under 15 new hospitalizations (3-day average)
  2. Regions must have at least at least a 14-day decline in hospitalized deaths or under 5 new deaths (3-day average)
  3. Regions must have under 2 new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents (3-day rolling average)
  4. Regions must have a certain share of total beds available (have at least 30 percent of available beds in case of potential resurgence)
  5. Regions must have a share of ICU beds available (have at least 30 percent of available ICU beds in case of potential resurgence)
  6. Each region must have the capacity to test 30 per 1,000 residents monthly (7-day average of new tests per day)
  7. Regions must have a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents, and additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in the region

A number of regions have met his requirements to begin reopening after Friday, while others will remain closed.

"A new chapter starts today," Cuomo said. "This is the next big step of this historic journey."

Cuomo has broken the state into 10 regions, each ranked across the seven key metrics that must be met before they can begin to reopen. As of Monday, three regions -- the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley and the Finger Lakes -- had achieved all seven goals. They'll have to finalize logistics before Friday, Cuomo said.

Just last week, none of the regions had achieved more than five of the metrics.

Central New York and the North Country check off six of the seven boxes. New York City and Long Island have made progress since Cuomo first specified the regional reopening criteria. However, as of Monday, neither region is ready, meeting four and five of the metrics, respectively.

Regions that meet the criteria can, after May 15, enter the first of four reopening phases, which includes construction and manufacturing business. These are deemed the "most essential" with the "lowest risk" of infection spread.

Region by Region Status

Source: New York State; Report as of May 18

The second phase involves retail, finance and professional services, while the third addresses food and hospitality. Education and entertainment will be the last sectors to resume, Cuomo has said.

Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy previously announced that their states' schools will stay closed for the rest of the academic year. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont issued the same decision.

A two-week monitoring period is required between phases; should regions see setbacks, they must pull a "circuit breaker," effectively pausing the reopening process until they manage the issues.

Regions will also need to put these precaution plans in place in order to reopen and allow businesses to operate:

  • Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace
  • Enact social distancing protocols
  • Restrict non-essential travel for employees
  • Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others
  • Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards
  • Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace
  • Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases
  • Develop liability processes

Here's the breakdown on businesses that will be allowed to operate in the first phase of reopening:


  • Building Equipment Contractors
  • Building Finishing Contractors
  • Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors
  • Highway, Street and Bridge Construction
  • Land Subdivision 
  • Nonresidential Building Construction
  • Residential Building Construction
  • Utility System Construction

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting

  • Greenhouse, Nursery, and Floriculture Production
  • Other Animal Production
  • Other Crop Production
  • Support Activities for Animal Production
  • Support Activities for Crop Production
  • Support Activities for Forestry

Retail Trade

Phase One includes delivery and curbside pick-up service only for the following businesses:

  • Clothing Stores
  • Direct Selling Establishments
  • Electronics and Appliance Stores
  • Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses
  • Furniture and Home Furnishing Stores
  • Florists
  • 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
  • Shoe Stores
  • Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument and Book Stores
  • Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers


  • Apparel Manufacturing
  • Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing
  • Electric Lighting Equipment Manufacturing
  • Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
  • Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing
  • Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing
  • Machinery Manufacturing
  • Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing
  • Paper Manufacturing
  • Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
  • Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing
  • Printing and Related Support Activities
  • Textile Mills
  • Textile Product Mills
  • Wood Product Manufacturing
  • Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing

Wholesale Trade

  • 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
Contact Us