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June 19, 2020

PSG N.Y. COVID Update: Guidance & Analysis on Reopening Schedule

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New York State

Reopening Information

This weekend Governor Cuomo announced that both Western NY and the Capital Region will join other upstate regions in Phase 3 this week.  Also, the Governor announced that low-risk youth sports and gatherings of up to 25 people will now be allowed under Phase 3 reopenings. 

  • Phase 2 information can be found here.
  • Phase 3 information can be found here.
  • Statewide information (i.e. camps, religious services, graduations) can be found here


Although progress is being made on reopening the state to various businesses and other sectors, the Health Commissioner announced that overnight children’s camps will not be allowed this summer. In addition, the Governor raised concerns about individuals gathering in groups to eat and drink.  There were warnings that the law must be enforced and it includes adverse actions against liquor licenses.  Here is the latest guidance on liquor licenses from the SLA. 


Reopening Analysis from the Parkside Group

Governor Cuomo has recently shifted his focus for reopening metrics from a broader seven-factor analysis that included hospital capacity, testing, tracing, and hospitalization rates, to a more narrow set of measurements reliant on daily testing and the percentage of people testing positive in each region. While the broader set of metrics is still posted on the Governor's New York Forward website and continues to be updated, his daily briefings have since shifted to updates and analysis of the daily testing results and trends in each region. 

The phased reopening process has continued to move forward across the state in 14-day intervals. Currently, five regions of the state (Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, Central New York and North Country) are in Phase 3 of the reopening process. Western New York and the Capital Region are expected to enter Phase 3 this week. Next week, the Mid-Hudson Region and Long Island are expected to enter Phase 3, and on Monday, June 22, New York City is expected to enter Phase 2

Since this shift in focus to daily testing and positive testing rates began, the Governor has consistently characterized the data as "good news." Upstate regions with the lowest percentage of positive results have hovered around 0.5%, with New York City generally registering the highest percentage at approximately 1.3%. While the Governor has not identified any specific thresholds that would warrant concern and potentially slow or reverse the reopening process for a specific region, he has consistently stated that the state is looking for longer-term trends in the wrong direction. 

Looking ahead, week-to-week consistency in positive COVID testing results within each region will likely signal that the region is on track to move through the balance of the reopening process under the current 14-day timeline. Longer term trends in the wrong direction for any region may see the first departure from the 14-day phased reopening trend and could even raise the specter of a regression in the reopening process for that region. 

We will be paying particular attention to New York City's reopening process going forward, as the City was most impacted by the virus, saw the largest gatherings of protestors in the state over the past two weeks, and has inherent challenges related to population density and public transportation. In addition, Mayor De Blasio (who does not control the reopening process) has publicly stated that he expects New York City to enter Phase 2 in early July, which would be a significant departure from the reopening timeline seen throughout the rest of the state. 

Police Reform: The Governor, today and over the weekend, signed a number of the bills passed by the Legislature last week regarding police reform.  He also issued an Executive Order (EO 203), the NYS Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, that calls on local governments to reform their police departments and reinvent policing strategies.  


New York City

Budget: The New York City Council announced that they will work to cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget. The proposed cuts reflect the need to reform policing and direct funds to other community priorities.  Although the Mayor is in support of cutting the NYPD budget, he believes the Council proposal cuts too much funding. The budget is slated to be passed by the Council by the end of the month.

As budget negotiations continue, many groups are advocating to protect their constituents in the challenging fiscal environment, including seniors and affordable housing. In addition, the IBO released its latest report today on the budget’s impact on summer programs. 

The NYS Comptroller, this past Friday, released a report on sales tax revenue, showing NYC with a 31.9% decline in May. 


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