Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: As of May 28, officials in New York State, US, have eased coronavirus disease-related restrictions in nine of the state's ten regions.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • New York City, New York
  • Albany, New York
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Syracuse, New York
  • Rochester, New York
  • Binghamton, New York
  • Elmira, New York
  • Islip, New York
  • The Hamptons-Montauk, New York
  • Watertown, New York
  • Plattsburgh, New York
  • Ithaca, New York
  • Newburgh, New York
  • Glens Falls, New York
  • White Plains, New York
  • Fishkill, New York
  • Hauppauge, New York
  • Melville, New York
  • Riverside, New York
  • Saratoga Springs, New York

This alert began 28 May 2020 21:18 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): New York State (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
As of May 28, authorities in New York State have lifted certain business restrictions in nine of the state's ten regions as part of their four-phase coronavirus disease (COVID-19) recovery plan. The Mid-Hudson Valley and Long Island regions were the latest two regions to move into Phase 1 of the plan. The move has allowed businesses in the construction, manufacturing, wholesale supply chain, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries to resume operations in the impacted areas. Retail shops will also be allowed to reopen, albeit for curbside pickup and drop-off services. The affected regions encompass the following counties:

  • Capital Region: Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, and Washington counties.
  • Western New York: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties
  • Finger Lakes: Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties
  • Southern Tier: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins counties
  • Mohawk Valley: Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, and Schoharie counties
  • North Country: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties
  • Central New York: Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego counties
  • Mid-Hudson Valley: Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties
  • Long Island: Nassau and Suffolk counties


Under New York State's recovery plan, as a prerequisite to reopening, individual regions must meet seven specific criteria established as indicators of local capacity to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Authorities have also lifted restrictions on some low-risk businesses and outdoor recreational activities statewide, including landscaping, gardening, drive-in movie theaters, and tennis, since May 15. Recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds were allowed to reopen May 25, and veterinarian practices have been operating since May 26. Professional team sports are also allowed to resume training camps statewide, although without spectators.

Nevertheless, except where specified otherwise, orders requiring nonessential businesses to remain closed and residents to stay at home unless performing essential tasks will remain in place until further notice. Under New York's current stay-at-home order, residents may only leave their homes to obtain basic goods, attend to a medical issue, care for a person in need, or travel to work at a business or service allowed to operate. Residents may also engage in recreational activities, provided they comply with social distancing guidelines. Essential businesses that may remain open include grocery stores, pharmacies, health care providers, banks, fuel stations, transportation providers, construction companies, and manufacturers. Restaurants may only provide delivery and carry-out services. Authorities require all persons, including essential workers, to wear protective masks when in public and whenever they cannot adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the state's measures. Officials could amend the order on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, officials may reimpose or further extend restrictions should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential travel in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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