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Long Island Begins Phase One Reopening

New York State on PAUSE ended for Long Island this Wednesday after our region finally met all seven metrics required to begin Phase One, the initial Phase of Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward Reopening Plan. This is good news for nonessential businesses in our area, although it does not mean we can go back to business as usual. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is still present and spreading in our area, so businesses will need to follow state guidelines to insure the safety of employees and customers. While the end of PAUSE does not lift state mandates regarding social distancing, the wearing of face coverings in public, or the limiting of gatherings to 10 or less individuals, it does allow limited industries to return to work in at least some capacity. Phase One industries include:

• Construction
• Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting
• Retail (limited to curbside or in-store pick-up or drop-off)
• Manufacturing
• Wholesale Trade

Prior to reopening, businesses must develop a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan outlining how they will meet specific health and safety guidelines, and they must affirm that they will operate in accordance with these guidelines. These guidelines vary by industry, but include the use of face coverings, ensuring 6-foot spacing between individuals whenever possible, limiting capacity of indoor spaces, posting social distance markers, etc. Thus, businesses will begin to reopen, but they will not run as they did before the outbreak. For more information about Phase One industries and guidelines, click here.

As of now, there is a prescribed two-week period between each reopening Phase, although Governor Cuomo has stated this could be shorter if COVID-19 cases rapidly decline. While government officials are cautiously optimistic, they will closely monitor COVID-19 cases and respond quickly to any clusters. The reopening of Phase One industries will pave the way for the next three Phases of New York Forward, which are as follows:

Phase 2
• Professional Services
• Retail
• Administrative Support
• Real Estate / Rental and Leasing

Phase 3
• Restaurants / Food Service

Phase 4
• Arts / Entertainment / Recreation
• Education

In addition to the reopening of Phase One industries in our area, veterinarian offices throughout New York were permitted to reopen on Tuesday, and Long Island courts will be opening for limited in-person operations.

For more information on the New York Forward Reopening Plan, visit

To learn more about COVID-19 in New York State, visit