Long Island did not meet the benchmarks to reopen from the coronavirus shutdown by May 15, so Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the New York on Pause order for the region to May 28.
The governor signed an executive order Thursday the details the two-week extension for LI and four other regions statewide, mostly downstate, that have yet to meet all seven metrics, while five upstate regions can immediately begin phase one of their reopening — resumption of construction, manufacturing, argiculture, and curbside retail.
“If a region hits its benchmark at any of time, regardless of the pause order, then that region can open,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Friday during his latest coronavirus news briefing.
The pause order temporarily closes non-essential businesses, orders workers to telecommute, bans gatherings, and mandates social distancing in public, among other things.
The reopening is set to come in four phases. Phase two will be professional services, finance, retail, administrative support, and real estate. The third phase includes restaurants and hotels. The fourth and final phase includes education, recreation, and arts and entertainment.
The pause extension comes as Long Island has taken a step backward in meeting its reopening goals. Last week LI ranked last among 10 regions statewide, meeting only two of the seven benchmarks, and on Monday the Island was meeting five of the seven. But as of Thursday, it met four.
The first two goals LI met was having a 14-day decline in coronavirus hospitalizations and having 30 tests per 1,000 residents monthly. On Monday, it met two more benchmarks: having 30 percent of hospital beds and intensive care unit beds available in case of a possible spike in coronavirus cases. On Thursday, LI fell below having 30 percent of total hospital beds available, but as of Friday is met that metric again.
As for one of the key metrics, New York State reports that the LI region is expected to meet the criteria of having 30 contact tracers — disease detectives tasked with investigating the transmission of cases — per 100,000 residents. But Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has said that implimenting the software to meet that goal will take weeks.
The two metrics that the Island has yet to meet includes having a rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations at less than 2 per 100,000 residents and a 14-day decline in hospitalized coronavirus deaths or under five new deaths on a three-day rolling average.
Many New York Metro area news outlets erroniously reported Friday morning that the New York on Pause order was extended to June 13, which is innacurate. Extended to June 13 was the underlying state of emergency declaration. The actual New York on Pause order was only extended to May 28.
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