Phase One Reopening

The Finger Lakes Region has now begun to undertake the process of Phase 1 reopening. The recently launched New York Forward website is live and provides detailed information and updates on the metrics for reopening as well as business resources and guidance.

Businesses and individuals reopening in Phase 1 must read the State’s detailed industry-specific reopening guidance and provide affirmation of business compliance with those guidelines. Each re-opening business must also develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19.  A Safety Plan Template and complete industry-specific reopening guidance with attestation form can be found here:

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


Here is a link to an informative document, NY Forward, a Guide to Reopening NY, which provides guidelines to assist you as you reimagine a “new normal” for your team. The business-specific information begins on page 32.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that as of today, the Finger Lakes Region has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state’s regional phased reopening plan when NYS on PAUSE orders expire on May 15th. If the trend continues, starting on May 15th, our regions can begin opening businesses for phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup; and agriculture, forestry and fishing. A guide to the state’s "NY Forward Reopening" Plan is available here. The Governor also launched the state’s regional monitoring dashboard, which is available here.

The Governor also announced that certain low-risk business and recreational activities will be ready to reopen statewide on May 15th, including landscaping and gardening; outdoor, low-risk recreational activities such as tennis; and drive-in movie theaters.

In order to reopen, businesses will be required to have an established reopening plan that includes:

  • Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace.
  • Enact social distancing protocols.
  • Restrict non-essential travel for employees.
  • Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others.
  • Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards.
  • Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace.
  • Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and
  • Develop liability processes.

Additional state guidance on reopening plans will be issued in the coming days.

New York Forward

Governor Cuomo outlined a plan to reopen New York State. Our plan focuses on getting people back to work and easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread of the virus or overwhelming the hospital system. New York is reopening on a regional basis as each region meets the criteria necessary to protect public health as businesses reopen. New York State remains on PAUSE through May 15. Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business. Reopening plans do NOT need to be approved by Public Health. Businesses must have a plan, must post it on their website and post it in a conspicuous place in their business.

In developing these plans, businesses will need to consider three main factors:

The first factor is protections for employees and customers. These include possible adjustments to workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace; enacting social distancing protocols, and restricting non-essential travel for employees.

The second is changes to the physical workspace, including requiring all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent close contact with others and implementing strict cleaning and sanitation standards.

The last factor for businesses to consider is implementing processes that meet our changing public health obligations, like screening individuals when they enter the workplace, or reporting confirmed positives to customers. While these processes will vary from business to business, almost everyone will have to adapt, in some way or another, to our new normal.

To learn more about the reopening, check out the New York Forward site.

For frequently asked questions: Advice to Employers FAQ

Guidance per industry: Additional guidance for Phase I Re-Opening