New York

What’s Reopening? A Breakdown on Return of Non-Essential Businesses in Tri-State

Here are the businesses and activities that are being allowed to reopen in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

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The loosening of some restrictions imposed on nonessential businesses by governors in the tri-state state to slow the coronavirus outbreak’s spread has started to take effect as deaths and hospitalizations slowly decline.

While the region is far from the return to pre-pandemic times, small steps are being taken to safely ease lockdowns and avoid another deadly wave of outbreaks.

New York

The Empire State's reopening procedures look a little different from the rest because New York City, the epicenter of the country's pandemic, won't meet the same requirements as regions in upstate New York.

Seven of the state's 10 regions -- Central New York, Capital Region, Western New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier -- have met Gov. Andrew Cuomo's criteria to reopen and have done so over the last week.

New York has also allowed gardening and landscaping businesses to resume along with drive-in theaters. Outdoor activities conducive to social distancing, like tennis, are also permitted. Starting Thursday, religious groups of 10 people are fewer will be permitted with social distancing. Memorial Day gatherings of the same number will also be allowed.

State beaches will also be open, even in the three regions not yet cleared all the criteria to reopen. However in Nassau and Westchester counties, beach access will be limited to residents only, at least in this preliminary period. Those beaches will also only be open at 50 percent capacity. Some Long Island boardwalks will open as well, but will enforce strict social distancing.

New York City beaches are closed for swimming, but open for sunbathing. Beachgoers can step into the water up to their ankles, and surfing is allowed as well.

Signs of businesses returning to NYC are still a ways off, but some are already making plans for it. The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced it is planning to reopen as soon as mid-August.

(If you need help determining whether your business is allowed to reopen, click here.)

Here's the breakdown of businesses that can reopen in Phase I:


  • 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

Region by Region Status

Source: New York State; Report as of May 18

New Jersey

The Garden State already eased some restrictions across the state in May and more reopenings of non-essential businesses are on the way.

  • State parks and golf courses reopened earlier this month
  • Beaches along the shore reopened on May 15
  • Charter fishing services and for-hire vessel activities, as well as watercraft rental businesses, reopened May 17 with required social distancing measures
  • Non-essential construction work and curbside pickup at non-essential retail businesses are permitted to reoperate
  • In-person sales at car, motorcycle and boat dealerships and bicycle shops are allowed to resume
  • Batting cages, golf ranges, shooting and archery ranges, horseback riding, private tennis clubs and community gardens can reopen
  • Recreational campgrounds, public and private, can reopen
  • The limit on outdoor gatherings (including activities listed above) was raised from 10 to 25 people, but outdoor gatherings do not include al fresco dining or graduations. Indoor gatherings remain capped at 10 people
  • Elective surgeries and invasive procedures, both medical and dental, will be able to resume Tuesday, May 26 at 5 a.m.
After two months, nonessential stores and construction can resume in New Jersey. NBC New York's Checkey Beckford reports.


Connecticut residents can now dine out, o to some retail stores and go to the zoo — with certain restrictions, of course.

With manufacturing, construction, real estate, utilities, essential retail, childcare and hospital having already been deemed essential businesses, here are the non-essential businesses that were allowed to begin operating once again May 20:

  • Restaurants (outdoor only, no bar areas)
  • Remaining retail
  • Outdoor recreation Offices (continue WFH where possible)
  • Museums, Zoos (outdoor only)
  • University research

Gov. Ned Lamont ordered a 50% capacity limit for businesses that are reopening. The businesses will have to implement strict cleaning and disinfection protocols and social distancing rules should still be observed. Gatherings are still restricted to a maximum of five people, all of whom should wear masks in public.

Hair salons and barbershops were initially included in Phase 1 of Connecticut’s reopening plan. After extensive discussions with owners and employees of those businesses, Lamont announced Monday he would push those business reopenings to June 1 in coordination with Rhode Island.

Connecticut is slated to go into Phase 2 of its reopening plan on June 20, which is when more nonessential businesses and other programs can launch. That includes:

  • Youth sports
  • Public libraries
  • All-day summer camps (June 22)
  • K-12 summer school (July 6)

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