Long Island reopens, leaving New York City on pause
UPDATED 2:45 PM PT — Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Businesses in Long Island, New York have started to reopen. As of Wednesday, non-essential stores are partially open with curbside pickup.
One local florist has emphasized the importance of supporting small businesses during this time.
“You know, the big chains are going to make it. The big chains are going to have enough resources to keep their heads above water. It’s the small businesses that, you know, that many weeks, a month, two months, three months at a business (with) not any income coming in.” – Maria Lykos, florist
More than 1,000 New Yorkers tested positive for coronavirus on Monday.
Long Island’s reopening marked the 9th region in New York that has begun the reopening process. Phase one of the plan will allow manufacturing, construction and retail businesses to reopen, but with social distancing and density reduction precautions in place.
This came after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New York’s lowest daily virus death toll since the pandemic hit the Empire State. Long Island has seen a steady decline in hospitalization, infection and fatality rates in recent days and weeks. Contact tracers are now being brought up to speed and trained.
“Each region has a regional control group. I’ve spoken to many of the county executives across the state, who are key on these regional control groups. I said to the county executives, ‘Watch the numbers.’”
– Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York
During his briefing, he cited Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone by name. Cuomo also said it will be up to “regional control rooms” to monitor COVID-19 related data, which will determine if the region needs to slow down reopening efforts.
“We want the economy to come roaring back, and that’s not going to happen just by wishing it,” he added. “We have to take action, and today is page one of that first chapter.”
After mandatory guidelines are met, businesses must submit an affirmation to the state, confirming they agree to operate in compliance with the detailed guidance. They must also have a written plan outlining their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
As of Wednesday, New York City was the only region in the state still on pause. Two criteria are currently blocking the city from taking that first step.
The city has not yet reached the required 30% of available hospital beds. Right now, the city is at 28%. The second box not checked off yet is the contract tracing goal. This will require 30 tracers per 100,000 residents.
Both Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have said New York City is currently on track to reopen in the first or second week of June.