CORONAVIRUS Updates - New York State
- New York State has greatly expanded testing capacity, meaning any New Yorker statewide can get a coronavirus test. To learn more or find a testing site near you, visit: coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-testing.
- The governor announced that schools with reopening plans approved by the state Education Department can resume in the fall, if their regions 14-day average infection rate has remained below 5% since reopening began. Schools that have reopened must close if the regions 7-day average infection rate exceeds 9% after Aug. 1.
- To protect the health of students, faculty and staff, the following guidelines must be followed:
- Everyone must wear face masks in school facilities and on school grounds, though students should be permitted to remove their masks during meals, instruction and for short breaks, as long as they maintain social distance. Students must also wear face masks on school buses and measures should be considered to reduce bus density.
- Everyone must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet in all directions, or physical barriers must be constructed if maintaining that distance isnt possible. When students are singing, playing wind instruments or engaged in aerobic exercise, a distance of 12 feet must be maintained.
- To the greatest extent possible, schools should cohort students. Cohorts are self-contained, reasonably sized groups of students that must remain fixed for the duration of the COVID-19 health emergency. Schools must also limit intermingling between cohorts as much as possible.
- Students, faculty, staff and any other visitors must be screened before entering school facilities. Any person with a temperature above 100.0°F must be denied entry or sent to a dedicated pickup area. Faculty and staff must also answer daily screening questionnaires, while students should periodically fill out questionnaires.
- Schools must develop specific policies for vulnerable populations, including students, faculty and staff, that accommodate their specific situations to the greatest extent possible.
- For more information on school reopening guidelines, visit: https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/Pre-K_to_Grade_12_Schools_MasterGuidence.pdf
- To ensure students, parents, faculty and staff are all on the same page, school districts must:
- Post their remote learning plans and testing and tracing plans online
- Host three to five remote discussion sessions with parents and the community at-large by Aug. 21
- Hold at least one discussion with teachers
- To learn more, visit: http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/programs/reopening-schools/nys-p12-school-reopening-guidance.pdf
- Local schools and businesses are offering free grab-and-go meals for kids who need them through December 31. If you need assistance finding a location near you, contact your local school district. (https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/08/31/usda-extends-free-meals-kids-through-december-31-2020#:~:text=During%20the%20COVID%2D19%20pandemic,financially%2C%E2%80%9D%20said%20Secretary%20Perdue.)
Changes to Day-to-Day Life
- To see which categories of businesses will be allowed to resume service as the reopening process progresses, visit: forward.ny.gov/industries-reopening-phase. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20231-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency)
- The NY Forward Business Reopen Lookup Tool allows you to see whether a business is eligible to reopen: www.businessexpress.ny.gov/app/nyforward.
- During Phase 4, the following categories of businesses can resume operations:
- Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment
- Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment
- Media Production
- Professional Sports Competitions With No Fans
- Gyms and fitness centers statewide can now reopen at 33% capacity, but localities can choose to delay reopening of indoor fitness classes. Additional health and safety protocols are in effect and patrons must wear face masks at all times. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-gyms-and-fitness-centers-can-reopen-starting-august-24)
- Agritourism businesses such as apple orchards, pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms can reopen, as long as they adhere to social distancing and face mask protocols and limit customers to 33% of maximum occupancy for outdoor activities and 25% of maximum occupancy for indoor activities. (https://agriculture.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/09/agritourismfaq.pdf)
- At this time, petting zoos are not permitted, but animal exhibits can now reopen so long as they adhere to state safety guidelines. (https://agriculture.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/09/agritourismfaq.pdf)
- Restaurants and bars can now provide indoor and outdoor dining, as long as all staff wear face coverings and customers wear face coverings when not seated. For indoor dining, capacity must be limited to 50% of maximum occupancy and tables must be spaced 6 feet apart or, if not possible, physical barriers must be implemented. For outdoor dining, tables must also be spaced 6 feet apart or be separated by barriers if that isnt possible. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-outdoor-dining-restaurants-will-be-permitted-phase-two-reopening; https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/Food_Services_Summary_Guidelines.pdf)
- To ensure food establishments are complying with COVID-19 protocols, restaurants and bars can only serve alcohol to patrons who are ordering and eating food. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-new-regulations-bars-and-restaurants-ensure-compliance-state-social)
- During Phase 4, indoor religious gatherings are allowed at up to 33% of the indoor sites capacity as long as social distancing and other safety measures are in place. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-five-regions-track-enter-phase-iv-reopening-friday)
- During Phase 4, movie theaters and water parks will remain closed. (www.governor.ny.gov/news/amid-covid-19-pandemic-governor-cuomo-governor-murphy-governor-lamont-and-governor-wolf-direct)
- Casinos and video lottery terminal facilities can reopen with a 25% occupancy limit. All venues that choose to reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including face coverings except when eating or drinking, social distancing, additional staff to control occupancy, traffic flow and seating to avoid crowding, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. Casinos must also have enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards in place in order to open. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-casinos-allowed-reopen-limited-capacity-next-week)
- Nursing homes and long-term care facilities can begin to allow visitors for compassionate care situations. The facilities can only allow visitors if theyve reported no new COVID-19 cases in 14 days, limit visits to a maximum of two guests at a time, restrict visitation to 10% of residents at one time and pre-screen all visitors. (https://health.ny.gov/press/releases/2020/2020-09-15_revisions_to_nursing_homes_visitation_guidelines.htm)
- Retail stores can offer in-store service as long as they reduce maximum store capacity by 50% and require face coverings for customers and customer-facing employees. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/GeneralRetailSummaryGuidance.pdf)
- To help protect at-risk individuals and essential workers from exposure to COVID-19, New Yorkers need to wear masks or face coverings in public when social distancing isnt possible. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20217-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency)
- Businesses have the right to deny entry or service to individuals who arent wearing masks. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20234-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency)
- Dentist offices may now open for non-emergency services, as long as they adhere to state safety regulations. For a complete list of state guidelines, visit: www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/DentistryMasterGuidance.pdf
- Major pharmacy chains in New York State have agreed to offer free home delivery. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/amid-ongoing-covid-19-pandemic-governor-cuomo-announces-nys-pause-functions-extended-next-two)
- State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices in Albany, Onondaga, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties can now process registrations and other transactions by mail, as well as through secure drop boxes located at each office. Limited in-person transactions, by reservation only, and road tests have also resumed at certain offices. (https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/dmv-reopening-guidance)
- Garage sales are now permitted statewide, as long as people maintain social distancing, wear face masks and adhere to a 10-person limit. (https://twitter.com/LtGovHochulNY/status/1271057092019798017)
- Low-risk youth sports which includes baseball, cross country, crew, field hockey, gymnastics and softball are allowed as long as spectators are limited to two per child. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-low-risk-youth-sports-regions-phase-three-can-begin-july-6th)
- Hospitals and group homes statewide can allow visitors at their discretion. Facilities that allow visitation must adhere to state guidelines, including temperature checks for all visitors. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-photos-rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-announces-us-open-be-held-without-fans-august)
- Financial assistance is available for small businesses affected by COVID-19. To see eligibility requirements, learn more and apply, visit: www.sba.gov.
- State debt collection on student debt and medical debt will have payments frozen through at least Nov. 3. (https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/2020/attorney-general-james-renews-suspension-state-debt-collection-seventh-time)
- The federal government has also suspended federal student loan payments and is waiving interest through Dec. 31, 2020. (https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-student-loans-and-coronavirus-pandemic/)
- New laws protect homeowners and tenants by:
- requiring New York regulated institutions to grant 90 days of forbearance to residential mortgagors who can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (Ch. 112 of 2020)
- prohibiting courts from issuing a warrant of eviction or judgment of possession against a residential tenant who suffered financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic for the nonpayment of rent (Ch. 127 of 2020)
- The state has extended the moratorium on residential evictions until Jan. 1, 2021. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/audio-rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-announces-moratorium-covid-related-residential-evictions)
- The state has extended the moratorium on commercial evictions until Sept. 20. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-executive-order-extending-moratorium-covid-related-commercial-evictions)
- New state law allows for sick leave and benefits to quarantined/isolated workers. (nyassembly.gov/Press/files/20200318a.php)
- It also eliminates the one-week waiting period for UI claims for workers directly affected by COVID-19. To file a claim, visit labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm and follow the on-site instructions.
- NY State of Health is offering a special open enrollment through the end of the year. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-special-enrollment-uninsured-extended-through-end-2020-0)
- New York State is aware of multiple scams related to the coronavirus. To file a complaint or learn more, visit https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.
Check with your local grocery store about limited hours and/or special hours for seniors to shop.
For updates and more information, visit the New York State Department of Health website at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home or call 888-364-3065.
Sign up for email updates from the CDC at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/whats-new-all.html