New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on Monday a tentative plan for reopening the state economy that involves regions following a set of criteria to determine when and which businesses can open.

“This is not a sustainable situation,” Cuomo said of the statewide shutdown, which is scheduled to expire on May 15. “Close down everything, close down the economy, lock yourself in the home. You can do it for a short period of time, but you can’t do it forever.”

He noted that New York City and its suburbs, which have been hit hardest by the novel coronavirus may be the last places to start opening up again.

The requirements include a three-day rate of hospitalizations of less than two for every 100,000 residents each day, a 14-day decline of net hospitalizations for COVID-19 or no more than 15 new hospitalizations a day on average for three days, and a 14-day decline in virus-related hospital deaths or less than five per day on average for three days.

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Hospitals must also have a vacancy of at least 30% of their beds, and testing must be ramped up particularly in rural areas until they meet a weekly average of 30 COVID-19 tests for every 1,000 residents for a month.

Cuomo also announced he wants at least 30 working contact tracers for every 100,000 residents in what he called a “monumental undertaking” that will require “an army.”

With these criteria met, Cuomo believes areas can begin to reopen.

First, construction and manufacturing companies could resume their activities, while some retail stores could provide curbside pickup after May 15.

If after two weeks, cases are still trending downward, then other services including retailers and real estate firms could reopen, followed by restaurants, bars and hotels.

The final phase would allow cinemas and theaters unable to operate at half capacity, including Broadway, to reopen.

Cuomo said Monday that the reopening process has to be done methodically to ensure coronavirus cases do not peak again, as other countries like South Korea experienced.

“You see that you reopen too soon or you reopen unintelligently and you can then have an immediate backlash,” Cuomo said. “And that’s not speculation. That is looking at other countries, and look at what has happened around the world.”


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