New COVID19 Requirements for New York Business Re-Openings (and for those Essential Businesses which continued to Operate)

By: Mary Anne Cody

New COVID19 Requirements for New York Business Re-Openings (and for those Essential Businesses which continued to Operate)

Central New York will begin to open for business again with the issuance of Executive Order 202.31 which allows Phase 1 businesses to open if the business can follow the New York State Department of health mandates.

New York State will be allowing the re-opening of businesses by region in four phases as follows:

Phase 1:  Construction, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, Retail (limited to curbside or in-store pickup/drop off), Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade.

Phase 2: Professional Services, Retail, Administrative Support, Real Estate/Rental & Leasing.

Phase 3: Restaurants/Food Services.

Phase 4: Arts/Entertainment/Recreation, and Education.

Central New York, by the Executive Order issued May 14, 2020 will now begin Phase 1 re-opening.  The length of time between Phases will be determined regionally depending on the specific health metrics for each region regarding COVID19.

For a business to re-open (and for a business which did not close to now continue to operate) the following steps must be followed:

  • Identify which Phase the business is in;
  • Read the State industry specific mandates;
  • Write, adopt and publish at the work site a Safety Plan for re-opening (or continuation of operation);
  • Certify online that the business owner/agent has reviewed State industry mandates for re-opening and affirm that the mandates will be followed.
  • Continue to follow and update Plan and practices in line with New York State guidance.

The required safety procedures for Phase 1 industries has been released at https://forward.ny.gov/industries-reopening-phase.  Guidance for the other Phases has not been released as of May 15, 2020.

A safety plan must be adopted by each business in Phase 1; the State has provided templates. The Plan must be shared with employees, customers and posted at work sites. https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/NYS_BusinessReopeningSafetyPlanTemplate.pdf

There are Frequently Asked Questions for this re-opening process at: https://esd.ny.gov/nyforward-faq.

In addition, each business (both those re-opening and those which have continued to operate) must certify to the State at a new website portal as follows:

I am the owner or agent of the business listed. I have reviewed the New York State interim guidance for business re-opening activities and operations during the COVID-19 public health emergency and I affirm that I have read and understand my obligation to operate in accordance with such guidance.  https://forms.ny.gov/s3/ny-forward-affirmation

Those businesses which are not in Phase 1 should nonetheless review the requirements of the Phase 1 openings as there are common themes in the requirements and the outline of safety plans for businesses can be considered and developed now and finalized once the State releases the requirements for the next Phases.

Additional websites business should also continue to monitor include the New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Website https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19) website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Website  https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/.