Mid-Hudson Region set to enter phase II of reopening

Uptown Kingston. (Photo by Dion Ogust)

The governor confirmed today that the Mid-Hudson Region, which includes the counties of Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester, will enter phase II of reopening tomorrow.

Phase II allows for outdoor dining, salons, barbers, and a host of other businesses under the banner of “professional services.” In addition, religious services can be held with 25 percent or less capacity. Essentially, most things that don’t involve a large crowd or eating or drinking indoors will reopen, with restrictions on capacity and mask use and social-distancing enforced.

“The global public health experts advising New York State have reviewed the data and numbers for the Mid-Hudson region and cleared this part of the state to move ahead into Phase II of the reopening on Tuesday, June 9,” said Gov. Cuomo in a statement today. “New Yorkers have been smart and disciplined throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, and it is essential for residents and businesses to continue to follow all necessary precautions to ensure the virus does not spread as we advance the Mid-Hudson reopening.”

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A guide specifying businesses included in phase II and the requirements businessowners need to abide by can be found here.

As there are exceptions, the best way to figure out if a particular type of business is open is to search on this page.

Business categories include:

  • In-store retail (non-malls)
  • Offices
  • Real Estate
  • Vehicle Sales, Leases, and Rentals
  • Retail Rental, Repair, and Cleaning
  • Commercial Building Management
  • Hair Salons and Barbershops
  • Outdoor and Take-Out/Delivery Food Services

Categories expressly forbidden for this phase include:

  • Malls
  • Indoor on-premise restaurant and bar service
  • Large gathering/event venues
  • Gyms, fitness centers, and exercise classes
  • Video lottery and casino gaming facilities
  • Movie theaters (except drive-ins)
  • Places of public amusement (like amusement parks, zoos, bowling alleys)

The state has said each phase will last two weeks. The next phase, due for June 22, includes indoor dining bars and restaurants; the last, which would begin July 6, everything else.

Reopening doesn’t mean things will feel normal. In addition to the masks and social distancing we’ve all grown accustomed to over the last few months while navigating essential businesses like grocery stores and gas stations, other restrictions will be in place. Retail businesses need to limit staffing to only essential numbers and keep the occupancy below half what’s normally allowed by the fire code. Waiting rooms won’t be open at salons and barbers; guidelines say lines “should be avoided” and customers should be given a time to return. Outdoor dining guidelines require mask-use at all times by employees and by customers whenever they’re not seated as well as a six-foot distance between all tables.