After a nine week pause, some businesses in the Mid-Hudson Region will reopen

After a nine week pause, some businesses in the Mid-Hudson Region will reopen on Tuesday, including construction, manufacturing, retail (for curbside pickup only), wholesale trade and agriculture.

The seven-county region, which includes Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties, has shown a significant downward trend in the spread of coronavirus and met the seven metrics the state required to enter Phase 1 of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s four-phase reopening plan.

“The counties in this region have worked hard to get to this stage. We stayed home, stayed safe and flattened the curve, and now we are eager to get back to business,” Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said. “The businesses that will reopen will make safety their first priority.  We want people working, and we also want to keep our communities safe.”

Main Street businesses will need guidance during the reopening and county officials will be there for them, Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County Executive, said.

“We were smart, we were vigilant, and, now, we begin a new chapter,” Molinaro said. “As we begin to reopen, we will keep supporting our businesses, families and farmers. As we keep making smart choices, we will protect lives while helping our community get back to life.”

All seven county executives who are part of the Mid-Hudson Regional Control Room that will monitor the metrics, welcomed the transition to Phase 1.

“While it is critical that we begin reopening the economy and getting people back to work, we will approach this first phase and each additional phase with ‘safety first, people always’ as our motto,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

The lessons learned over the past few months will now be put to good use, Steve Neuhaus, the Orange County Executive, said

“Our region is anxious to get back to work and we look forward to helping businesses as they restart our local economy,” Neuhaus said. “Practical social distancing and wearing masks will help us open all phases as soon as possible.”

A major part of the Phase 1 plan includes having contact tracers notify those who have been exposed to COVID-19.  Contact tracers throughout the region will be trained this weekend and begin work on Tuesday.  The region’s contact tracers include a mix of health department employees, other county employees, summer interns and volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps.

Phase 1 will last for two weeks while the number of COVID-19 cases in the Mid-Hudson region are closely monitored. If the downward trend reverses and the numbers increase, the state can put the region back on pause.

But if the epidemic continues to subside, the region will progress to Phase 2, which includes professional services, retail, administrative support and real estate.  Phase 3 includes restaurants and food service and the last phase, Phase 4, includes arts, entertainment, recreation and education.

The state’s seven criteria for reopening included: a 14-day decline in net hospitalizations; a decline in death; fewer than 2 new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents; at least 30 percent availability of hospital beds; 30 percent availability of ICU beds; and an aggressive testing and contact tracing program.

Businesses seeking more information on the reopening guidelines should see the Forward New York Business Opening Lookup Toolkit  at businessexpress.ny.gov/app/nyforward)