Ulster County begins phasing in business reopenings

Safety measures are in place at the Commissary in New Paltz (Photos by Dion Ogust)

Ulster County is more than a week into New York State’s Phase One reopening plan and getting close to Phase Two. Phase One businesses include construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, manufacturing, wholesale trade and retail businesses – the latter limited to curbside or in-store pickup and drop-off.

Last week, Ulster County executive Pat Ryan visited Hamilton & Adams in Uptown Kingston and utilized in-store pickup. “I am excited that the mid-Hudson region has met the New York State threshold to start reopening. We have been preparing for this moment, for a phased safe reopening, for several weeks now, and I am confident that if we all work together, we can and will reopen safely,” Ryan said. “As a former business-owner, I understand the challenges our local businesses face under regular circumstances, and now more than ever, we must help our business-owners by providing them the tools needed to open their doors in a safe and responsible way. My office and the Office of Economic Development are committed to working with our business community to ensure a smooth and safe reopening.” “We are excited to start reopening safely. We have missed our community and are looking forward to connecting again soon,” said Andrew Addotta, co-owner of Hamilton & Adams.


Bread Alone in Woodstock

“I feel very confident that we’re on track for Phase Two on June 9, unless we get something out of left field,” the county executive said this past Friday, when the guidelines for Phase Two reopenings had just been released by the state. “We’re still digesting those, but we have our economic development team on this 24/7, and they’re speaking with our business-owners every day.”

One of the most common questions Ryan receives about business reopenings is “When can I get my hair cut?” With the exception of hotels, restaurants, arts and entertainment, most businesses fall into Phase Two, including car sales, rentals, real estate, offices, barbershops and hair salons. “There are a lot of guidelines for barbershops, though,” he cautioned. “Barbers and hairstylists must be tested [for COVID-19] every two weeks, and capacity will be limited, as well as services.” According to the New York State guidelines (https://forward.ny.gov/phase-two-industries), while hairstylists and barbers can cut, color and style hair, they are prohibited from doing nails, waxing, makeovers, threading, tweezing, facials, nosehair- and beard-trimming.

Amber at Shaved Ice Cart in Woodstock

Ulster County is designated part of the Hudson Valley Region for the reopening plan. All businesses in New York State will be required to develop their own safety plans before reopening, in alignment with Governor Cuomo’s NY Forward Plan. According to guidance released by the Ulster County Office of Economic Development, the 56 industry category sectors included in the Phase One reopening should begin preparing now so they may safely and legally reopen once the Pause is lifted in the mid-Hudson region.

While plans do not have to be submitted to New York State for approval, they must be retained on the premises of the business and be made available to the State Department of Health or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection. Safety plan templates are available by visiting https://forward.ny.gov/industries-reopening-phase, and guidance and resources specific to Ulster County can be found at https://covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/businesses. 

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan and Andrew Addotta at Hamilton & Adams in Kingston