WNY to Begin Reopening Economy Tuesday

Andrew Cuomo
Photo credit [WBEN Photo - Mike Baggerman]
BUFFALO (WBEN) - While giving his daily Covid-19 briefing at Roswell Park Monday morning, Governor Cuomo announced that Western New York will begin the first phase of reopening the economy on Tuesday.

NEW: Western New York will begin Phase 1 of reopening tomorrow.They will have all the contact tracers needed in place.

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 18, 2020

"It's been a long, painful period, but we start to reopen tomorrow," said Cuomo, who noted that the region put in a ton of work over the weekend to make sure that there are a sufficent number of contact tracers available.

Hospitals will be able to schedule elective surgeries as the region enters the first phase of reopening on Tuesday, but gatherings such as church services and sports events will still be banned, Cuomo said.

As part of the reopening, judges and staff members will return courthouses in 30 upstate counties starting this week, Cuomo said.

The following industries are part of the phase I reopening:

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

"I also have been encouraging major sports teams to plan reopenings without fans, but the games to be televised," he continued. "New York State will help those franchises to do just that."  “Personal disclosure — I want to watch the Buffalo Bills," said Cuomo.

In anticipation of reopening, local companies that fall under the Phase I category are required to develop plans that ensure safety and follow proper health guidelines.

Phase 1 industries in WNY may reopen tomorrow. This include construction, manufacturing, agriculture and retail with curbside pickup (no in-store sales). A business MUST have a reopening plan in place PRIOR to reopening.Find plan templates here: https://t.co/tUDcMSjJrW

— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) May 18, 2020

"One of the things I want every business owner that falls under that Phase I metric to understand is that you have to have a plan in place; it has to be available for review, and you have to affirm to New York State that you've put this plan in place," said Poloncarz. "If anybody opens up tomorrow without having that plan in place, and we get a call from an employee saying they don't have the plan, as the governor noted, we're obligated to go check.

"What I'm hoping is that the business community in Western New York will follow the law, get a plan in place, and allow their employees to review it," he continued. "The last thing either of us want to do is start enforcing this - we do not want to enforce it on our own - we want the community to enforce it."

When the region advances to the next phases of reopening, this is how industries are categorized:

Phase Two: Not Open

  • Professional Services
  • Retail
  • Administrative Support
  • Real Estate / Rental & Leasing

Phase Three: Not Open

  • Restaurants / Food Services

Phase Four: Not Open

  • Arts / Entertainment / Recreation
  • Education

For help determining whether or not your business is eligible to reopen, use the reopen lookup tool. You can also scroll down to find the guidance for each phase.