UPDATED: Mayor’s Office Outlines Further Guidance as City Enters Phase One Reopening

Mayor Bill de Blasio outlines NYC’s Phase One guidelines on May 28, 2020. Image Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Starting June 8th, retail, manufacturing, construction and other industries can resume operations with restrictions. On May 28, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out the additional guidance for industries that will be allowed to reopen under Phase One of the State’s reopening plan, NY Forward. While other parts of the state have already been allowed to reopen, New York City has remained shut down to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As the number of positive COVID cases, hospitalizations, and patients in the ICU continues to decline, the City is expected to reach the target thresholds to reopen June 8th.

The City estimates that between 200,000 to 400,000 employees may return to work during Phase One. The City is following the State’s guidelines for reopening. Industries allowed to reopen during Phase One include construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and retail. The State has released guidelines for each of these industries.

State Guidelines

State guidelines for construction include required social distancing unless safety or the core function of the work needs a shorter distance; required face coverings where social distancing cannot occur; limiting one worker at a time to tightly confined spaces like elevators; and social distancing markers in commonly used areas. Indoor construction work must be limited to one worker per 250 square feet, excluding supervisors unless additional protective measures can be implemented. To read the construction summary guideline click here, and the detailed guidance here.

State guidelines for retail stores include following social distancing protocols, up to 50 percent maximum capacity and required social distancing markers. Retail is limited to curbside or in-store pick up or drop off. For summary guidance for retail click here, and for more detailed guidance click here.

State guidance for manufacturing includes similar requirements to maintain social distancing and mandatory face coverings where social distancing isn’t possible, as well as a maximum 50 percent capacity for work done indoors. For summary guidance click here, and for detailed guidance click here.

For more information about the State’s Phase One guidelines, click here. The State’s website includes a “NY Forward Business Reopen LookUp Tool” that allows business owners statewide to see what if any restrictions apply to their business by searching by county and industry.

City Guidelines

The City will also have additional requirements for businesses to reopen during Phase One.

Businesses must ensure the frequent cleaning and disinfecting of shared surfaces and implement mandatory health screenings for employees, like temperature checks and questionnaires. In addition to social distancing markers, employers must conspicuously post business safety plans on site. Employees must be provided with free clean face coverings and be encouraged to use face coverings at all times. Face coverings will be required if employees cannot maintain social distancing.

The Department of Buildings, Small Business Services, and the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (formerly Consumer Affairs) will conduct outreach to business as they reopen. The City will launch a business re-start hotline for questions about regulations, release industry guides to educate businesses about proper protocols, train City officials to provide on the ground assistance to businesses and continue to gather feedback and address industry-wide concerns. Enforcement agencies will conduct random spot visits to ensure compliance, with summons or fines as possible consequences for egregious or continuous violations.

UPDATED: The City has created a hotline to offer guidance for small businesses at 1 (888) 727-4692.

Mayor Bill de Blasio stated, “New Yorkers have worked so hard for this progress but we must remain vigilant in this fight. I know we are all eager to return to normal, and the guidelines for phase one are the first step on that path. We will support business so they can reopen while staying safe.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



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