Phased Reopening


The Governor has authorized the opening of gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios, and the like. But, there is a new twist to this one. That is that it falls more directly to the county chairman to institute a system of inspections which are focused on HVAC units and air handling.  The other rules apply as well.  While you may not be one of these centers, we’re asking you, as our loyal reopening partners to spread the word to those who may be affected and may want to get their questions answered. We are hosting an initial zoom meeting August 21 at 2:00 p.m. We will have Ontario County’s Tom Harvey talk about the area code enforcement officials role in this and help give tips on how to do it right.  Additionally, we will be asking a couple of “fitness centers” who believe that they are ready to share any advice that they have.  

 This ruling affects a lot of facilities including fitness centers within hotels, within YMCAs, within Senior Centers and other recreational facilities. It is NOT just about gyms. Think any place that offers programming related to this. 

 To register, go to our website: // and click on the webinar listing that we just added about an hour ago.  Here’s a more direct link to register if it’s easier. Please spread the word! Again the date, is August 21st at 2:00 p.m. via zoom. Registration required.

Today, Governor Cuomo announced that the Finger Lakes region Tier is set to enter Phase Four this Friday, June 26, 2020.

Along with guidance for Phase Four industries released earlier today at, religious gatherings will be allowed to increase participation to 33% capacity, up from 25%. Social gatherings will be allowed to increase to 50 people, up from 25 people. Current Phase Four guidance includes the following industry sectors:

Low-risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment Activities - The guidance applies to low-risk outdoor arts/entertainment activities, including outdoor zoos, botanical gardens, nature parks, grounds of historic sites and cultural institutions, outdoor museums, outdoor agritourism, local agricultural demonstrations and exhibitions, and other similar institutions/activities.

Low-risk Indoor Arts and Entertainment Activities - This guidance applies to all indoor museums, historical sites, aquariums, and other related institutions or activities.

Media Production - This guidance, applies to all activities undertaken in motion picture, music, television, and streaming productions on set, on location, or at any production or recording site.

Governor Cuomo also confirmed that the state continues to review guidance for malls, movie theaters and gyms and the impact these industries have had on the increase in the spread of the virus in other states.

The state also announced that $65 million in federal CARES Act funding is available for childcare providers statewide through the New York Forward Child Care Expansion Incentive program. The funding will help bring closed programs back to operation to serve families returning to the workplace. Details on the grants and how child care programs can apply are available here.

As the COVID-19 metrics continue to show progress, the Finger Lakes Region is preparing to advance to Phase 4. In anticipation of thisstage of reopening, the state continues to release guidance for key categories and activities.  Guidance was posted for all types of in-person higher education institutions, including but not limited to community and junior colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, medical schools, and technical schools. Higher education institutions must develop and submit a plan for reopening and operating for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency

Specific guidance can be found at

In addition, guidance continues to be updated for other statewide activities and gatherings such as beaches, funeral services, daycares, and sports related activities. Details on each of these and others can be found at

As the Phase 3 reopening progresses in the Finger Lakes, the health metrics continue to trend in the right direction. As a result, the state has eased restrictions on the number of individuals that can gather. Beginning today, groups of up to 25 people will be allowed, which is an increase from the previous limit of 10.

In addition, the state is allowing low-risk youth sports to begin on July 6th for regions in Phase 3 of reopening. Sports to resume include baseball, softball, gymnastics, field hockey, cross country, and crew with up to two spectators allowed per child. While the restrictions are easing, individuals are reminded that they should be diligent in their efforts to continue practicing social distancing and other recommended health and safety measures to protect themselves and the public from the spread of the virus.

The Small Business Administration announced yesterday it will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications (EIDL advances of $1,000 per employee up to $10,000 are forgiven) to qualified small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses. The expanded eligibility will now allow agricultural businesses to qualify as a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Agricultural businesses include those engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).
  • SBA is encouraging all eligible agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees wishing to apply to begin preparing their business financial information needed for their application.

More information on the EIDL program can be found at

Today during his daily press conference, Governor Cuomo announced that the Finger Lakes has been cleared for a Phase Three reopening tomorrow, Friday, June 12.

Phase Three businesses include:

  • All restaurants and food services establishments, including food trucks and other food concession; and
  • Non-hair-related personal care businesses and services, including tattoo and piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, spas, cosmetology, nail specialty, UV and non-UV tanning, or waxing.

Phase Three information can be found at and includes specific industry guidelines for reopening and affirmations that businesses will implement industry specific safety plans. Businesses must affirm they will follow these guidelines prior to reopening and post the affirmation at their business location.


Earlier this morning, the state released guidance for Phase Three reopening. The guidelines can be found at and apply to non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to reopen.  While there hasn’t been any official word, it’s possible that the Finger Lakes could enter the third phase of reopening as early as Friday.

Phase Three businesses include:

  • All restaurants and food services establishments, including food trucks and other food concession.
  • Non-hair-related personal care businesses and services, including tattoo and piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, spas, cosmetology, nail specialty, UV and non-UV tanning, or waxing.

In addition to the Phase Three guidance, additional guidance including Higher Education Research was added to the Phase One reopening which can be found at

Also, the state released guidance for child care and day camps, and other industries, which can be found at

Finally, the state has provided additional guidance on low risk outdoor recreation which now includes:

  • Parks and other open public spaces, except playgrounds and other areas of congregation where social distancing cannot be abided
  • Outdoor, low-risk recreational activities are permitted so long as social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting measures are in place
  • Tennis
  • Non-motorized boat use and rentals, such as row boats, kayaks, canoes
  • Golf and driving ranges, except miniature (mini) golf, with food and retail services subject to the restrictions that are currently in effect within the region
  • Racket games, such as badminton, pickle ball, racquetball
  • Toss/bowl games, such horseshoes, bocce, bean bag toss, croquet
  • Flying disc games, such as disc golf and Frisbee
  • Shuffleboard
  • Aerial rope courses or zip lining
  • Rope courses including aerial rope courses
  • Batting cages
  • Shooting ranges
  • Swim classes and swim instruction
  • Drive-in movie theaters so long as social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting measures are in place
  • Marinas, boatyards, and recreational marine manufacturers, for ongoing marina operations and boat repair/maintenance, where such facilities adhere to strict social distancing and sanitation protocols. In regions that are not within the first phase of the state’s regional reopening plan, use of such sites for the purposes of personal use or operation of boats or other watercraft is permissible, provided that no establishment offer chartered motorized watercraft services or motorized boat rentals. Restaurant activity at such sites are limited to take-out or delivery only.

If you are a Phase I or Phase II business and have not yet completed an attestation with the state, you must do so immediately byvisiting and submitting an affirmation that you have reviewed the industry specific guidance and developed an appropriate reopening plan. Businesses that have not done so need to file this as soon as possible to prevent actions that could force closure of the operation.

To determine whether your business is currently allowed to operate, use the reopening tool at by entering your NAICS code.

The Finger Lakes Region has now begun to undertake the process of Phase 1 reopening. The recently launched New York Forward website is live and provides detailed information and updates on the metrics for reopening as well as business resources and guidance.

Businesses and individuals reopening in Phase 1 must read the State’s detailed industry-specific reopening guidance and provide affirmation of business compliance with those guidelines. Each re-opening business must also develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19.  A Safety Plan Template and complete industry-specific reopening guidance with attestation form can be found here:

For help determining whether or not your business is eligible to reopen, use the reopen lookup tool. You can also scroll down to findthe detailed industry business guidance for each phase.


Here is a link to an informative document, NY Forward, a Guide to Reopening NY, which provides guidelines to assist you as you reimagine a “new normal” for your team. The business-specific information begins on page 32.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that as of today, the Finger Lakes Region has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state’s regional phased reopening plan when NYS on PAUSE orders expire on May 15th. If the trend continues, starting on May 15th, our regions can begin opening businesses for 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. A guide to the state’s "NY Forward Reopening" Plan is available here. The Governor also launched the state’s regional monitoring dashboard, which is available here.

The Governor also announced that certain low-risk business and recreational activities will be ready to reopen statewide on May 15th, including landscaping and gardening; outdoor, low-risk recreational activities such as tennis; and drive-in movie theaters.

In order to reopen, businesses will be required to have an established reopening plan that includes:

  • Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace.
  • Enact social distancing protocols.
  • Restrict non-essential travel for employees.
  • Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others.
  • Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards.
  • Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace.
  • Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and
  • Develop liability processes.

Additional state guidance on reopening plans will be issued in the coming days.

New York Forward

Governor Cuomo outlined a plan to reopen New York State. Our plan focuses on getting people back to work and easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread of the virus or overwhelming the hospital system. New York is reopening on a regional basis as each region meets the criteria necessary to protect public health as businesses reopen. New York State remains on PAUSE through May 15. Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business. Reopening plans do NOT need to be approved by Public Health. Businesses must have a plan, must post it on their website and post it in a conspicuous place in their business.

In developing these plans, businesses will need to consider three main factors:

The first factor is protections for employees and customers. These include possible adjustments to workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace; enacting social distancing protocols, and restricting non-essential travel for employees.

The second is changes to the physical workspace, including requiring all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent close contact with others and implementing strict cleaning and sanitation standards.

The last factor for businesses to consider is implementing processes that meet our changing public health obligations, like screening individuals when they enter the workplace, or reporting confirmed positives to customers. While these processes will vary from business to business, almost everyone will have to adapt, in some way or another, to our new normal.

To learn more about the reopening, check out the New York Forward site.

For frequently asked questions: Advice to Employers FAQ

Guidance per industry: Additional guidance for Phase I Re-Opening