Long Island may not reopen from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown for another seven weeks, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Friday.
The estimate is based on how long Nassau and Suffolk counties will take to meet New York State criteria laid out this week and is the closest thing to a specific reopening date, which has so far proven elusive.
”It’s hard to say because the numbers change so quickly,” Curran told reporters during her latest COVID-19 news briefing. “It’s not about the timeline. It’s about when we meet the criteria.”
As of Monday, LI had only met two of seven sets of criteria required for the first phase of reopening, ranking last out of the 10 regions statewide, according to state data. For one metric alone, it’s expected to take about four weeks to roll out the software required for the hundreds of contact tracers who will be deployed to investigate individual coronavirus cases.
Reopening is set to come four stages, starting with manufacturing and construction. The fourth and final stage is for arts venues.
“Just to give you rough estimate, our back-of-the-envelope number, we could get there probably by the end of June,” Curran said when asked when the first phase of reopening could occur.
“My concern is our economy is not going to be able to hang on, that we’re gonna need to move more things into the essential category,” she added. “We need to start getting society engaged again, in the safest way possible.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued the New York on Pause order requiring non-essential businesses to close, workers to telecommute, and the public to remain socially distant to avoid spreading the virus.
“That’s a long time,” Curran said of her estimate. “That’s seven weeks.”