With the arrival of the proposed date to begin to reopen Hudson Valley counties Dutchess, Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Ulster, Putnam here’s today’s Rivertown roundup on the status of the Coronavirus for – Friday May 15, 2020.
A gathering of information for the Hudson Valley extracted from Governor Cuomo’s daily press briefing.
The Governor is optimistic that some communities can already begin a return to semi normalcy, but he urges citizens to remain patient:
“All the arrows are pointed in the right direction and now the question becomes focused on reopening – people have to get back to work and the state needs an economy – but we have to make sure we don’t reopen too soon.”
And now for some much needed good news! Five areas in New York have met Governor Cuomo’s benchmarks for reopening their economy and as of today are allowed to enter the first of four phases of renewed economic activity.
• Central New York, North Country, the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions have all entered phase one of reopening. That means those areas are now cleared to recommence their construction, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Foresters and wholesale traders are also allowed to return to work and hunting and fishing grounds are once again open. Retail stores are also allowed to conduct business, though they must limit themselves to curbside or in store pickup.
• At least two weeks must pass between each phase of reopening but each phase could be stalled or reversed by local governments if they see a significant uptick in new Covid infections. Unfortunately Rockland County still has to meet three benchmarks before we’re allowed to begin reopening, those being a fourteen day decline in hospital deaths, a new hospitalization rate of under 2 citizens per every 10,000, and at least 30% of our total hospital beds available. Sadly, the county is still seeing a small increase of about 1% in Covid related deaths. So what does a reopened county look like?
• Residents are still urged to wear masks in public even during periods of reopening.
• Restaurants and places of recreation will be the very last to open, during phases three and four of the process respectively.
• Public parks have been open even in those areas that have not been greenlit for restarting their economies.
• New York’s state-controlled beaches will be open for Memorial Day weekend, operating at 50% capacity and with a prohibition against “group contact activates”. New York City beaches however will remain closed.
Joseph Kuhn is a freelance reporter operating out of Rockland County. A Pearl River native, Joe studied Writing and Political Science at Marist College and his work has appeared in a number of local publications.