ALBANY – Governor Cuomo today outlined a blueprint to un-pause New York, getting people back to work and easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread of the virus. The ultimate plan will be implemented in coordination with other states in the multi-state council.
- Do No Harm – Step one is to continue controlling the rate of infection. This includes extending the NY Pause order until May 15 and implementing additional measures to reduce the rate of infection, including requiring masks in public when social distancing is not possible.
- Strengthening the healthcare system – Step two is continuing the surge and flex strategy to ensure anyone who needs medical attention gets it, building out the strategic stockpile of PPE and other medical equipment, and sharing resources among states and localities.
- Testing and Contact Tracing – The best tool to inform decisions and calibrate progress of any phased reopening of the economy is through both diagnostic and antibody testing. The states need the federal government to partner on this effort and bring it to the mass scale that is needed. With the help of an army of investigators, contact tracing needs to be done to help limit the virus spread.
- Phased Return to “New Normal”:
- Evaluating Risk by Industry: The ‘Un-Pause NY’ approach is designed to open businesses in phases of priority. Businesses considered “more essential” with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered “less essential” or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. As the infection rate declines, the pace of reopening businesses will be increased.
- Precautions and Practices for businesses to consider to guide phased return to “new normal”:
- Transport: Ensure employees have means for safe transport (i.e., masks, gloves for public transit) or require telecommuting/work from home.
- Workplace: Ensure workplaces are designed to include social distancing measures (i.e., desks six feet apart, conference rooms redesigned), telecommuting for those who can and the most vulnerable
- Customer Interaction: Ensure measures designed to ensure minimal contact with customers, ensure public-interacting employees have necessary protective supplies such as gloves, masks, etc.). Special precautions should be taken for businesses that primarily interact with the most vulnerable populations.
- Proactive Infection Plan: Ensure protocols in place should an employee develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive (i.e. work from home plan)
“Now that we’ve shown we can flatten the curve and our efforts to control the spread of the virus are working, we must focus on a smart, effective plan to un-pause New York,” Cuomo said. “The first part of the plan is to do no harm – don’t let that infection rate go up to the best of your ability and don’t lose the progress that we have made. Second, now that we have some stability in our health care system after a weeks-long overdrive, we continue to strengthen that system and ramp up testing and contact tracing to identify those who are sick and isolate them so they don’t transmit the virus to others. Then we can focus on phasing an economic return to the new normal – but we need all those activities going on at the same time for our plan to un-pause New York to work.”