In the face of the Covid-19 crisis, the Finger Lakes region has demonstrated solidarity, resilience and grit. From our courageous frontline responders to our neighbors, local businesses and services providers – everyone’s stepped up to support the health of our community in some way. And today we’re seeing a breakthrough thanks to that spirit of solidarity and commitment to community: Governor Cuomo announced that the Finger Lakes region has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state’s regional phased reopening plan. Provided that the trend continues, starting on May 15th, the Finger Lakes region can begin opening businesses for phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup; and agriculture, forestry and fishing. If you have questions around whether your business fits in Phase 1 or a future phase, take a look at this additional guidance released today.
During the reopening process, the regional metrics will be closely monitored by regional control rooms, who will alert the state if a region’s metrics no longer meet the reopening guidelines. In such an event, the reopening plan for that region will be adjusted accordingly. In Canandaigua we are fortunate to have Bob Duffy, President and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, as captain for the Finger Lakes regional control room, and Ontario County Chair Jack Marren as our local representative.
In order to reopen, every business must have a plan in place to protect employees and consumers by making the physical work space safer and by implementing processes that lower risk of infection. Additional guidance is forthcoming from the newly deployed New York Forward Reopening Advisory Board, which will help guide the state’s reopening strategy and develop industry specific safety guidelines. The advisory board includes over 100 business, community, and civic leaders from industries across the state.
At a minimum, businesses will need to consider three main factors in their reopening plan:
- Protections for employees and customers, including social distancing protocols and possible adjustments to workplace hours and shifts to reduce density in the workplace.
- Changes to the physical workspace, including strict cleaning and sanitation standards, and requiring all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent close contact with others.
- Implementing processes that meet our changing public health obligations, like screening individuals when they enter the workplace, or reporting confirmed positives to customers.
We’re sure that you have questions about developing and implementing your reopening plan, and we’re here to field your questions as new guidance is released (contact Brooke Mayer @ firstname.lastname@example.org). The state will also soon launch a Frequently Asked Questions guidance document (keep an eye out here for that).