Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo announced that the Capital Region has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state’s regional phased reopening plan starting tomorrow, joining the Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley Regions. The Capital Region has now identified enough contact tracers to meet the state’s guidelines, and the tracers are being trained today in preparation for Western New York entering phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup; and agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Business guidance for phase one of the state’s reopening plan is available here. A guide to the state’s “NY Forward Reopening” Plan is available here. The state’s regional monitoring dashboard is available here.

Governor Cuomo also announced that Nassau County is now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care. The Governor previously announced that the state will allow elective outpatient treatments to resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near term, and a total of 50 counties can now resume elective surgeries.

The Governor also announced a collaboration with the Greater New York Hospital Association and the Healthcare Association of New York State to implement a two-week hospital visitation pilot program in 16 hospitals across the state to allow increased visitations for family members and loved ones. As part of the pilot program, visits will be time-limited and visitors will be provided with and must wear PPE and are subject to symptom and temperature checks.

The Governor also announced the state will allow Memorial Day ceremonies of 10 people or less statewide, with final decisions about ceremonies being left to local governments. The Governor also encouraged vehicle parades in honor of veterans for Memorial Day.

The Governor also called on the FDA to take steps now to make sure that pharmaceutical corporations that produce a COVID-19 vaccine release the rights to the vaccine to provide for immediate widespread distribution and help ensure the vaccine is available to all individuals.

“As more regions and businesses across the state become eligible to begin reopening, New Yorkers are getting excited, but we must not forget the hard work we’ve done and the pain we’ve experienced for the last two months,” Governor Cuomo said. “Everything that we did – the closings, social distancing and other measures – were tough but necessary, and because of it we saved lives and we flattened the curve. If you look at the curve in New York compared to the rest of the nation, we’re going down while the curve is still going up in many other regions. We must continue to do everything we’ve been doing even as we begin to reopen and remember the lessons we’ve learned through all of this.”

Finally, the Governor confirmed 1,474 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 352,845 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 352,845 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, there are 110 cases in Herkimer County with 3 deaths.