It’s a significant milestone, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Tuesday. Wednesday, July 8, officially begins phase four of the reopening plan on Long Island.
Phase four allows for the reopening of low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment venues, including museums, historical sites, aquariums, zoos and botanical gardens. Social distancing and facial coverings are mandatory. Capacity is restricted to 25 percent for indoor venues and to 33 percent for outdoor ones. Higher education, media production and fanless pro sports can also resume with limitations.
“There’s much work still to be done,” the county executive said during his daily COVID-19 briefing on July 7.
Gyms, movie theaters, and shopping malls will see delayed openings, and the NY PAUSE regulations related to mandated masks and social distancing in public places remain in effect. Certain activities that were not included in phased openings, like personal treatments that require mask removal, continue to be prohibited. “A lot of challenges still need to be worked out,” the county executive affirmed.
Industries and locations — like beaches and restaurant dining rooms — where capacity is limited to 50 percent, must continue to adhere to those regulations.
Social gatherings may increase to allow 50 people; the current limit is 25.
As in the first three phases, businesses must develop and submit safety plans to the state, comply with social distancing, sanitizing, and disinfecting standards, such as implementing hand sanitizing stations, as required for businesses that opened during earlier phases. Mandatory health screening practices and tracing systems must be detailed in a safety plan.
It was March 22 when Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone which closed all but essential businesses across the state. NY PAUSE mandated, as weeks wore on, the wearing of face coverings in public, as well as calling for maintaining social distance.
As NY Un-PAUSE commenced, the governor crafted a four-phase plan designed to reopen businesses while continuing to keep the curve of coronavirus cases flat. The goal of New York’s phased reopening plan was to open the industries with the greatest economic impact and lowest risk of spreading coronavirus to either employees or customers.
Dubbed “NY Forward,” the plan included four phases. With each phase, a sector of the business community could open, with mandatory safety guidelines and monitoring. Phase one began on Long Island at the end of May, on May 27, with subsequent phases commencing every two weeks afterward.
Suffolk County hit another milestone last week, reporting no deaths for five out of seven days. On Tuesday, July 7, Mr. Bellone did report one fatality, bringing the countywide death toll since March to 1,985.
As of July 6, the county listed 41,738 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Suffolk. There were 214 cases in East Hampton Town and 1,071 in Southampton Town. Over 362,000 tests for coronavirus had been given.