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.
- Schools with reopening plans approved by the state Education Department are open for the 2020-21 school year. Schools that have reopened must close if the region’s 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 isn’t 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
- All schools outside of New York City must close if their region is placed in a red or orange cluster zone under the state’s Cluster Action Initiative. Schools in those zones can only reopen if they:
- Remain closed for at least 4 calendar days, including 2 days to clean school facilities and conduct additional testing, after the zone designation is announced
- Ensure all students, faculty and staff test negative before they return to school in-person.
- Once schools in a red or orange zone have reopened, they must conduct weekly recurring testing of the entire school community and limit in-person attendance to 25%. To learn more, visit: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-releases-guidelines-testing-protocol-schools-reopen-red-or-orange-micro-cluster
- 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.)
- School districts can provide in-person special education services and instructing during the summer term. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20237-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency-0)
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
- Starting Nov. 13, bars, restaurants, gyms and fitness centers are required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily, and indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-restaurants-bars-other-sla-licensed-entities-must-close-person-service)
- Gyms and fitness centers statewide can now reopen at 33% capacity, but localities can choose to delay reopening until Sept. 2. 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 isn’t 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 site’s 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)
- Starting September 9, casinos can reopen at 25% capacity as long as the facility has enhanced air filtration and ventilation systems and requires all visitors to wear masks, except when eating or drinking. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-casinos-allowed-reopen-limited-capacity-next-week)
- Starting October 23, movie theaters can reopen at 25% capacity, as long as no more than 50 people are allowed at each screen. Theaters can only open in counties that have a COVID-19 positivity rate below 2% on a 14-day average and don’t have any cluster zones. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-most-movie-theaters-outside-new-york-city-can-reopen-october-23)
- Nursing homes and long-term care facilities can begin to allow visitors for compassionate care situations. The facilities can only allow visitors if they’ve reported no new COVID-19 cases in 28 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://www.health.ny.gov/press/releases/2020/2020-07-10_resumption_of_limited_nh_visitation.htm#:~:text=(July%2010%2C%202020)%20%2D,the%20federal%20Centers%20for%20Medicare%20%26)
- Medical schools statewide can open to prepare for new students in the summer and fall, as long as they take appropriate safety precautions. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-photos-rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-announces-state-expanding-covid-19-testing)
- Summer day camps can now open. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-photos-rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-responds-escalating-violence-and-looting-amid)
- 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 isn’t 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 aren’t 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 Dec. 31. (https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/2020/attorney-general-james-and-governor-cuomo-renew-suspension-state-debt-0)
- 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 commercial evictions through January 1. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-executive-order-extending-moratorium-covid-related-commercial-evictions-0)
- 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 Sept. 15. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/part-new-yorks-ongoing-response-covid-19-pandemic-governor-cuomo-announces-special-health)
- 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