NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Despite pressure from business owners, regional leaders and crowds of protestors, Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed to stay unmoved by emotion or politics when it comes time for him to decide on reopening New York State for business amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I get the emotion,” the governor said Friday during his COVID-19 daily briefing. “Everybody would like to see everything reopen tomorrow, me first and foremost.”
On Monday, Cuomo outlined his region-by-region 7-part criteria needed to restart the economy across various parts of the state starting as early as May 15 when his PAUSE executive order on social restrictions expires, reports CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
“I’m more of a ‘show me the facts and the numbers’ kind of guy,” said Cuomo. “We know what happens when we don’t do that, right? We’ve seen the full spectrum here. We’ve seen what happens when you go by gut instinct and by emotion and by politics.
“We know what happens: You make a mistake, that’s what happens,” he said. “We also know what happens when you are factual and evidence-based, and make decisions on the numbers, as opposed to on the politics.”
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For a region to reopen, it must:
- According to CDC guidelines, a region has to have at least 14 days of decline in total hospitalizations and deaths on a three day rolling average
- Regions with few COVID-19 cases can not have 15 new cases or five deaths on a three day rolling average
- A region must have fewer than two new COVID-19 patients per 100,000 residents per day
- Hospitals can’t be filled to more than 70% capacity – including ICU beds – leaving 30% available in the event of a surge
- All hospitals must have a 90 day stockpile of PPE
- There must be 30 tests per 1,000 residents ready to go
- Regions must have 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents, with additional tracers available based on the projected number of cases in the region
- A risk/reward analysis of which businesses can reopen, with most essential businesses with lowest risk being prioritized
- Phase 1: Construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chain, select retail with curbside pickup
- Phase 2: Professional services, finance and insurance, retail administrative support, real estate/rental leasing
- Phase 3: Restaurants/food services, hotels/accommodations
- Phase 4: Arts/entertainment/recreation/education
- Businesses must adjust their practices to ensure a safe work environment and track cases
- There will be a regional “control room” to monitor progress
“There is a science to this now,” said Cuomo. “The science is contrary to emotions and politics, I get that. I get it all day long. Everyone’s yelling at me, ‘We have to reopen, I have to get back to work, I need a paycheck.’ I get it, I hear it, I see it.”
As it stands this week, no region in the state meets all of the requirements, though the central part of the state is closest. Most only need to get more coronavirus tests before being given the green light.
“You tell me what that infection rate is, what that hospitalization rate is, I’ll tell you the facts,” said Cuomo. “If you look at these numbers now, when you just factor them forward for upstate New York, the numbers are dramatically different than downstate. It’s like a different state.”
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He said construction and manufacturing reopening in upstate looked positive for the May 15 target date, but downstate would have to “change dramatically enough to make a difference” by comparison.
New York will reopen statewide certain low-risk businesses and recreational activities as of May 15.
-Landscaping and gardening
-Outdoor, low-risk recreational activities like tennis
-Drive-in movie theaters
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 11, 2020
“I lay out the facts and New Yorkers have understood the facts,” said Cuomo. “They don’t like them. Nothing cheery about some of those facts, but lay out the facts and they’ve acted responsibly, and we get to May 15.”