Capital Region — The Capital Region is cleared to begin Phase 4 reopening of its economy Wednesday, as it continues to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.
It’s the last of the four reopening phases, and allows for resumption of higher education; low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment; and media production.
As with other business sectors that have reopened, such as retail and restaurants, there are extensive restrictions and precautions required or recommended for businesses that reopen.
Some operations that the state considers high-risk — including malls, gyms, theaters and theme parks — remain barred from operation, with no indication when they’ll be allowed to resume.
Each phase lasts a minimum of 14 days. The state’s 10 regions are judged separately from each other based on data that indicate the level of virus activity within a region and that region’s ability to respond to any spike in infections.
Progression through the phases can be slowed or halted in a region if its metrics indicate a local resurgence of the pandemic, but so far, all of the regions have progressed through each of the phases in 14 days.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the Capital Region — Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties — would be the latest to enter Phase 4.
The Mohawk Valley — which includes Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties — entered Phase 4 on Friday, as did four other upstate regions. Western New York started Tuesday.
Cuomo’s announcement of Phase 4 reopening came with cautions for New Yorkers not to relax the safety measures that have led to so much progress against the virus. He also expanded the precautions against other states with surging infection rates spreading the virus back to New York.
Cuomo announced Tuesday morning that eight more states had been added to the travel quarantine list for a total of 16: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
Anyone who has visited those states — including New York residents — will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon arriving in New York.
“As an increasing number of states around the country fight significant community spread, New York is taking action to maintain the precarious safety of its phased, data-driven reopening,” Cuomo said.
Those who are found to not be voluntarily quarantining will be placed in mandatory quarantine, will be billed for the cost, and will be subject to fines of $2,000 to $10,000, depending on whether they make other people sick, the governor has said.