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What COVID-19 Phase 4 Reopening Means for the Hudson Valley

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Hudson River looking north from the Bear Mountain Bridge. Wikimedia Commons / Rolf Müller

Stay tuned to this page for everything you need to know about New York’s four-part reopening plan in our region.

Reopening is underway in the Hudson Valley.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, the region commenced Phase 1 of reopening after receiving the green light from New York State Governor Cuomo over Memorial Day weekend. The announcement came just after the two-month mark for NYS on Pause, the state’s mandatory stay-at-home initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the region embarks on Phase 4, with the Capital Region approved for July 1 and the Mid-Hudson Region approved for July 7.

Coverage for the Mid-Hudson Region, which commenced Phase 2 on June 9 and Phase 3 on June 23, covers Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester Counties. Upper Hudson Valley counties like Albany, Columbia, Greene, and Rensselaer were first given the go-ahead to enter Phase 1 as part of the Capital Region on May 20, followed by Phase 2 on June 3 and Phase 3 on June 17. Both approvals came after statewide reopening was delayed first to April 15, later to May 15, and finally to May 28 or until the regions hit all seven required benchmarks.

As the entirety of the Hudson Valley enters the final stage of the four-step plan to reopen the region, it’s time to take a look at what each step includes and what the phased reopening means for local businesses and individuals.

What Are the Four Phases of Reopening?

By industry, here’s when Hudson Valley businesses will reopen their doors:

Phase 1: Construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, retail (limited to curbside or in-store pickup and drop-off), manufacturing, and wholesale trade, drive-in movie theaters

Phase 2: Professional services, hair salons, retail, administrative support, real estate, rental, and leasing, outdoor dining

Phase 3: Restaurants (at 50-percent capacity and with social distancing), food services, personal care services, tattoo and piercing studios, spas, nail services, waxing

Phase 4: Higher education, low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, media production, professional sports competitions without fans

What Does Phase 4 Look Like in the Hudson Valley?

Leading into Phase 4, New York takes extra steps to prevent the resurgence of COVID-19 in the region. On June 24, the state announced a joint travel advisory with New Jersey and Connecticut ordering individuals traveling from states with high rates of infection to self-quarantine for 14 days.

In Phase 4, gatherings can expand to groups of 50 people, up from 25 in Phase 3. Indoor religious gatherings are allowed at up to 33 percent of a location’s capacity. In regard to industries, higher education, low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, media production, and professional sports competitions without fans can reopen.

Here’s the complete rundown of approved industries and guidelines:

Higher Education

All types of in-person higher education institutions, including community colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, and medical and technical schools can reopen in this phase.

As part of their reopening plan, these organizations must promote social distancing, quarantine students if they become exposed to or infected with COVID-19, and conduct regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities. Employees who work on-campus must be screened daily, while students must be screened periodically. Institutions must notify the state and local health departments if and when positive cases are confirmed.

Find the higher education reopening guidelines here.

Low-Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment

Low-risk activities permitted to reopen during Phase 4 include outdoor zoos, botanical gardens, nature parks, grounds of historic sites and cultural institutions, outdoor museums, outdoor agritourism, and local agricultural demonstrations and exhibitions.

To operate safely, these businesses must limit workforce to no more than 33 percent of maximum occupancy and allow limited entry in cases where access to indoor space is required (such as for payment and restrooms). High-risk interactive exhibits and children’s play areas in which equipment cannot be cleaned between use must remain closed, and picnic tables and benches must be spaced to at least six feet apart.

In terms of sanitation, hand sanitizer must be available in common areas, with regular cleanings scheduled. Single-use maps are necessary unless they can be disinfected after each use. Similarly, use of headsets and loaned equipment must be discontinued unless regular disinfection is possible.

Read up on the full industry guidelines here.

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Today, Magazzino Italian Art celebrates its third birthday! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We’re proud to look back at the images above which show the wide array of programming put on over the years, ranging from lectures, to film screenings, and community focused events in the village of Cold Spring. We’re thankful for all who have supported us over the years, especially during our months of #MagazzinoDaCasa programming throughout our temporary closure. Stay tuned for more details about our reopening to the public, we can’t wait to safely invite you back in! Photos in order: “Margherita Stein: Rebel With A Cause” exhibition at Magazzino Italian Art (2017); “Michelangelo Pistoletto: Walking Sculpture” Performance (2017); Cinema in Piazza (2018); ‘Nicholas Tamagna: Le Nuove Musiche Fra Passato e Futuro’ Holiday Concert (2018); Marco Bagnoli Book Presentation (2019); ‘Reconsidering Arte Povera’ Lecture Series (2019); Jillian Pransky: Winter Wellness Workshop (2020); Magazzino Da Casa Digital Programming (2020). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #MagazzinoItalianArt #HudsonValley #MuseumReopening

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Low-Risk Indoor Arts and Entertainment

During Phase 4, indoor museums, historic sites, aquariums, and related institutions can all reopen. To do so, they must limit their workforce to no more than 25 percent of maximum occupancy, inclusive of visitors, and permit entry only to those wearing an acceptable face covering. Social distancing is required whenever possible. High-risk interactive exhibits and children’s play areas in which equipment cannot be cleaned between use must remain closed, and picnic tables and benches must be spaced to at least six feet apart.

To maintain cleanliness, hand sanitizer stations must be provided in common areas, and regular cleaning and disinfection must occur throughout the day. Use of headsets and loaned equipment must be discontinued unless regular disinfection is possible. Single-use maps or maps that can be disinfected after each use are allowed.

Find the full guidelines for indoor arts and entertainment venues here.

Media Production

Media production businesses, including all those relating to motion pictures, music, television, and streaming productions on set, on location, or at production or recording sites, can reopen throughout New York State during Phase 4.

To operate, they must limit occupancy to no more than 50 percent of maximum capacity for indoor spaces and require face masks when social distancing is not possible. Performers may temporarily remove masks during performances and rehearsals or when masks interfere with an activity like hair, makeup, or wardrobe. Non-essential personnel like family, friends, and guests are prohibited.

When scouting locations, companies must consider the feasibility of social distancing. Locations must be secured from the general public and permit access to only those essential individuals. There must be adequate space for employees to observe distancing when eating meals. When riding in vehicles, individuals must wear masks.

Mandatory daily health screenings for employees are required, along with screenings before and after work onsite.

Learn more about media production reopening guidelines here.

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One year ago… ⚾️

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Professional Sports Competitions With No Fans

Activities and venues relating to professional sports competitions, including practices, arenas, and stadiums, are allowed to reopen under this phase. In order to operate safely, they must promote social distancing whenever possible and prohibit live audiences, fans, or spectators. Fans are not allowed to congregate outside of sporting venues, and venues must have a plan to safely disperse them if congregation occurs. The use of shared spaces like locker rooms and team benches must be limited, and only athletes and team staff are allowed access to them.

Media interactions must adhere to social distancing, with limited in-person gatherings overall. In regard to athlete safety, athletes must practice hand hygiene before and after inserting and removing mouthguards. All sporting equipment must be regularly cleaned and disinfected, and spaces like saunas, hot tubs, and cryotherapy chambers must remain closed.

Read more about sporting guidelines here.

What’s NOT included in Phase 4:

  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Malls
  • Salon services requiring the removal of face coverings, such as lip/nose piercings, face massages, facials, and lip and nose waxing

What Does Phase 3 Look Like in the Hudson Valley?

As New York continues to maintain low rates of infection during Phases 1 and 2, the Hudson Valley is ready to take on Phase 3 of reopening. During this stage, food trucks, indoor dining, and personal care services like manicures and tattooing all mark their return to the region. Groups of 25 or more are able to meet, up from groups of 10 in Phases 1 and 2. Additionally, public hotels that had previously opted to close can now reopen for business.

Here’s the full breakdown of approved industries and their guidelines:

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Food Services 

Restaurants that were previously open for curbside pickup, takeout, or outdoor dining during Phase 2 may open indoor seating with social distancing guidelines. Food trucks may reopen as well.

In regard to indoor seating, restaurants must limit capacity to no more than 50 percent of maximum occupancy, with all tables separated by at least six feet or by barriers of at least five feet in height. No more than 10 people are allowed at a table.

Find the full reopening guidelines for food services here.

Personal Care

While hair salons were able to resume operations in Phase 2, tattoo and piercing studios, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, spas, cosmetology, nail services, UV and non-UV tanning, and waxing can all reopen during Phase 3.

To ensure safety, personal care services must limit workforce and customer presence to no more than 50 percent of maximum occupancy and maintain six feet of separation whenever possible. Any services requiring customers to remove face coverings, such as for lip/nose piercings, face massages, facials, and lip and nose waxing, are prohibited. For tattoos and piercings, staff must remove needles from sealed packages before each procedure, and all stencils and razors must be clean, unused, and discarded immediately after use. For nail care, all manicure and pedicure baths, bowls, and drying tables must be disinfected between uses, with new towels and tools for each customer.

For more information, read through the comprehensive personal care services guidelines here.

What’s NOT included in Phase 3:

  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation services, including fitness centers and gyms
  • Education
  • Malls
  • Salon services requiring the removal of face coverings, such as lip/nose piercings, face massages, facials, and lip and nose waxing

What Does Phase 2 Look Like in the Hudson Valley?

With the introductory Phase 1 reopening complete, Phase 2 is ready to roll in the Hudson Valley. This stage brings with it the return of a number of much-anticipated industries in the region, including barbershops, hair salons, and outdoor dining. Here’s what can reopen in part two of New York State’s four-part plan.

Offices

Offices relating to professional services, nonprofits, technology, administrative support, and higher education administration (excluding full campus reopening) are included in this sector.

Find the industry guidelines for offices here.

Real Estate

Real estate businesses are allowed to reopen under Phase 2. Showings are only allowed in unoccupied or vacant properties and individuals must wear face masks at all times. High-touch surfaces must be disinfected before and after every showing, and all showings must be staggered and with only one party inside a property at a time.

Find the full industry guidelines for real estate here.

Essential and Phase 2 In-Store Retail

In-store, non-essential retail businesses can reopen under Phase 2. Find the industry guidelines for in-store retail here.

Vehicles Sales, Leases, and Rentals

Businesses relating to vehicle sales, leases, and rental activities can reopen under Phase 2. Find the industry guidelines for this sector here.

Retail Rental, Repair, and Cleaning

Retail rental, repair, and cleaning businesses that were not deemed essential can now reopen in Phase 2. See the industry guidelines here.

Commercial Building Management

Commercial, non-residential buildings that were not deemed essential can reopen during Phase 2. Find the full industry guidelines for this sector here.

Hair Salons and Barbershops

Hair salons and barbershops are permitted to open under Phase 2. Notably, this does not include nail salons, tattoo parlors, or any other non-haircut-related services like beard and facial hair trimming, manicures and pedicures, makeup, threading, tweezing, or waxing.

Employees must wear face coverings when providing services and/or interacting with customers. All barbershops and salons must close waiting areas and require their employees to wear gloves and post social distancing markers.

Find the full industry guidelines for hair salons and barbershops here.

Outdoor and Takeout / Delivery Food Services

All restaurants and foods service establishments, including food trucks and concessions, are included in this category. Restaurants offering delivery or takeout may open outdoor seating for customers in keeping with the industry guidelines detailed here.

What’s NOT included in Phase 2:

  • Malls, although stores with separate entrances may open
  • Dine-in and on-premise restaurant or bar service, not including takeout or delivery
  • Large gathering / event venues
  • Gyms, fitness centers, and exercises, except for remote or streaming services
  • Video lottery and casino gaming facilities
  • Movie theaters, with the exception of drive-ins
  • Places of public amusement, such as amusement parks, carnivals, water parks, zoos, arcades, fairs, and bowling alleys

What Does Phase 1 Look Like in the Hudson Valley? 

After more than two months of operating under NYS on Pause orders, the Hudson Valley is slowly on the path to reopening. For now, a bulk of local businesses remain under stay-at-home restrictions by working from home and making the most of online resources. For those industries that have received the OK to open, however, there are a number of procedures they must maintain.

Construction

Contractors and construction workers focused on building equipment, finishing, foundations and structures, highways and streets, land subdivision, nonresidential and residential buildings, and utility systems are included in this category.

As part of their industry guidelines, these employees must:

  • Maintain at least six feet of distance unless required for work
  • Wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible
  • Limit workforce to no more than one worker per 250 square feet for indoor work unless additional personal protective measures are implemented
  • Post social distancing markers on commonly accessed areas
  • Limit in-person gatherings as much as possible
  • Clean and disinfect stations and sites daily
  • Prohibit shared food and beverages
  • Maintain a continuous log of ever worker and visitors who may have close contact with other individuals at work area, excluding customers and deliveries performed with proper PPE or via contactless means
  • Implement mandatory health screening assessment before employees begin work each day

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting

 Animal and crop production and support, as well as forestry support, are included in this category.

As part of the agriculture, fishing, and forestry guidelines, these employees must:

  • Maintain at least six feet of distance unless required for work
  • Wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible
  • Limit workforce to no more than 50 percent max occupancy or 250 square feet for indoor work unless additional personal protective measures are implemented
  • Post social distancing markers on commonly accessed areas
  • Limit in-person gatherings as much as possible
  • Establish designated areas for pickups and delivery
  • Clean and disinfect sites daily
  • Prohibit shared food and beverages
  • Maintain a continuous log of ever worker and visitors who may have close contact with other individuals at work area, excluding customers and deliveries performed with proper PPE or via contactless means
  • Implement mandatory health screening assessment before employees begin work each day

Retail Trade

 Clothing stores, direct selling establishments, electronics and appliance stores, furniture stores, florists, health and personal care stores, jewelry and leather goods stores, lawn and garden stores, office supply and gift stores, used merchandise stores, shoe stores, sporting goods and hobby stores, and bookshops are all included in this category.

As part of their industry guidelines, these employees must:

  • Maintain at least six feet of distance unless required for work
  • Wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible
  • Limit workforce to no more than 50 percent max occupancy unless additional personal protective measures are implemented
  • Post social distancing markers on commonly accessed areas
  • Limit in-person gatherings as much as possible
  • Establish designated areas for pickups and delivery
  • Clean and disinfect sites daily
  • Prohibit shared food and beverages
  • Maintain a continuous log of ever worker and visitors who may have close contact with other individuals at work area, excluding customers and deliveries performed with proper PPE or via contactless means
  • Implement mandatory health screening assessment before employees begin work each day

Manufacturing

Apparel, computer and electronics, lighting, fabricated metal, furniture, leather, machinery, paper, petroleum and coal, plastic and rubber, printing, textile, and wood manufacturing are included in this category.

As part of their industry guidelines, these employees must:

  • Maintain at least six feet of distance unless required for work
  • Wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible
  • Limit workforce to no more than 50 percent max occupancy unless additional personal protective measures are implemented
  • Post social distancing markers on commonly accessed areas
  • Limit in-person gatherings as much as possible
  • Establish designated areas for pickups and delivery
  • Clean and disinfect sites daily
  • Prohibit shared food and beverages
  • Maintain a continuous log of ever worker and visitors who may have close contact with other individuals at work area, excluding customers and deliveries performed with proper PPE or via contactless means
  • Implement mandatory health screening assessment before employees begin work each day

Wholesale Trade

Apparel, chemical, furniture, household appliance, electronic goods, machinery, metal and mineral, paper, professional and commercial equipment, durable and nondurable goods merchant wholesalers are included in this category.

As part of their industry guidelines, these employees must:

  • Maintain at least six feet of distance unless required for work
  • Wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible
  • Limit workforce to no more than 50 percent max occupancy unless additional personal protective measures are implemented
  • Post social distancing markers on commonly accessed areas
  • Limit in-person gatherings as much as possible
  • Clean and disinfect sites daily
  • Prohibit shared food and beverages
  • Maintain a continuous log of ever worker and visitors who may have close contact with other individuals at work area, excluding customers and deliveries performed with proper PPE or via contactless means
  • Implement mandatory health screening assessment before employees begin work each day

What Comes Next?

To ascertain whether a region has implemented social distancing procedures effectively and maintained all seven benchmarks, a minimum two-week buffering period is required between each phase. If a region continues to meet all benchmarks, it will receive approval to enter the next phase. If it does not, it will return to its previous phase until it achieves all seven benchmarks once more. New York State has not yet revealed what protocol will remain in place upon completion of Phase 4. It also has not yet made a decision on when and how gyms and malls will be able to reopen.

“As the reopening process continues, we have to supercharge the reopening to make sure that the economy doesn’t just bounce back, but that it comes back better and stronger than ever,” Governor Cuomo explains. With 393,454 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in New York State as of June 30, the reopening plan makes a targeted effort to ensure this number tapers off.

“We now begin a new chapter,” Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro observes. “The work we all do going forward will determine our course forward. Individuals must maintain their vigilance in protecting themselves and their families – wear face coverings when going out, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands. Continuing to make smart choices will protect our community.”

To embark upon reopening, all Hudson Valley businesses must review the NY Forward Reopening Plan, submit an affirmation, and provide a descriptive plan on how they will reopen to ensure the safety of both their employees and their customers.

For more information or to find out when your business qualifies to reopen, visit New York State’s Business Lookup Tool.

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