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Westchester’s COVID-19 Reopening Phase Four: What You Need to Know

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Michele Ursi | AdobeStock

Your updating guide to how Westchester County is progressing through phased reopening.

As the county continues the long process of reopening our various industries and professions, we’re making sure you have a convenient, up-to-date guide to what phase we’re in, how it’s progressing, and how long until the next stages can be implemented.

The Four-Phase Plan

Phase One – Construction, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, commercial fishing, wholesale trade, curbside/in-store retail pickup
Phase Two – Professional services (finance, insurance, admin support), in-store retail, real estate sales and leasing, hair salons and barber shops, outdoor dining, places of worship (at 25% capacity, with distancing)
Phase Three – Dine-in restaurants (at 50% capacity, with distancing), food services, public hotels, personal care services (spas, massage therapy, etc.), low-risk youth sports, gatherings of up to 25 people, hotels for non-essential/healthcare workers.
Phase Four – Higher education, recreation, entertainment* and the arts (such as zoos and museums), religious gatherings (at 33% capacity) and social gatherings of up to 50 people, TV and film production, professional sports (without fans).

*Malls, gyms, casinos, and movie theaters are considered high-risk indoor activities and are being studied more closely to determine individual reopening criteria. 

Phase One May 26
Phase Two –
June 9

Phase Three – June 23
Phase Four – July 7

Where Are We?

As of Tuesday, July 7, the Mid-Hudson economic region, which Westchester County is a part of, is cleared to begin Phase Four of reopening.

“New Yorkers have been smart and disciplined throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, and it is essential for residents and businesses to continue to follow all necessary precautions to ensure the virus does not spread as we advance the Mid-Hudson reopening,” the governor says.

Previously, Westchester County Executive George Latimer praised Westchester’s size and medical infrastructure as major contributing factors in getting one of the nation’s largest COVID-19 epicenters to meet the metrics for reopening. He was careful, however, to remind all that this is only the first step to reopening the county.

“This is not the beginning of the end. As Churchill said, it’s ‘The end of the beginning.’”

Phase Four reopening in Westchester will focus on higher education facilities, low-risk outdoor and indoor entertainment and the arts — museums, aquariums, historic sites, zoos, nature parks, etc. — media production, and professional sporting events, albeit without fans in attendance.

Indoor shopping malls may reopen starting July 10, only if they possess ventilation systems with a high minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating (like HEPA filters) capable of filtering out the 0.125-micron COVID-19 particle. Some malls may be permitted to reopen if their systems can, with modification, reach a MERV of 11 when combined with increased outdoor airflow, decreased circulation, longer runtimes, frequent system checks, and other additional precautions. Shoppers and staff with still be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing protocols.

westchestergov.com


What’s Still Not Open?

Certain other ‘high-risk’ locations and activities like casinos and movie theaters are still set to remain closed for the time being. Plans are being discussed on how to safely reopen these, similar to shopping malls.

The state will also issue forthcoming guidance in the first week of August on the potential reopening of primary and secondary schools in September, though the decision to do so at that time has not yet been made final.

In order to reopen, businesses must read through the detailed NY Forward Reopening Plan and submit an affirmation to having done so, and provide a detailed, documented plan for how they will personally reopen while maintaining the safety of their staff, clients, and the public. Industry specific guidelines can be viewed here.

 

Not sure if you qualify to reopen? Click here to see if your business and industry are ready and what you have to do to prepare.