Shuttered sectors of New York‘s economy will begin inching back to life Friday with more construction, manufacturing and curbside retail pickups allowed in parts of the state that are hours away from pandemic-stricken New York City.
The smaller cities and rural regions of upstate New York have been spared the brunt of the coronavirus outbreak. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is allowing many of those areas to gradually reopen first, industry by industry.
The first wave of businesses includes retail — though only for curbside or in-store pickup — along with construction and manufacturing.
In the largely rural Mohawk Valley, DANVANN Construction & Development is set to begin an excavation job Monday at a lake on the southern edge of the huge Adirondack Park.
“I’ve been lounging around the house a lot, and I’m ready to get busy,” said employee Justin Brown. “I’d rather be working.”
Job site rules will be different next week, with workers keeping their hands disinfected and their faces covered, said company owner Dan Roth, who has been paying his four idled employees.
They’ll also “have to stay 6 feet away from each other as best as you possibly can,” he said.
Cuomo’s administration divided the state into 10 regions that will reopen on different timetables. Restrictions can’t be eased until a region meets seven benchmarks demonstrating that COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations are down and that there are enough hospital beds if the outbreak flares up again. Each region must have a program of testing and contact tracing.
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The five regions of New York poised to open Friday cover a wide strip down the middle of the state. Excluded are New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley on the state’s east side, and the Buffalo region to the west.
It might resemble a soft opening.
A lot of manufacturing, construction and retail deemed essential has continued in New York during the lockdown. And curbside retail pickup has been available for food, wine and some other retail goods.