To help our clients navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Keane & Beane is providing Legal Alerts on a variety of issues as they are presented. The information contained in this Legal Alert is applicable as of today, May 15, 2020.
Executive Order 202.31
On May 14, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.31 (EO 202.31) to extend the provisions of New York ON PAUSE until May 28, 2020. The New York ON PAUSE policy closed or otherwise restricted public or private businesses or places of public accommodation, and required postponement or cancellation of all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size or for any reason (e.g. parities, celebrations, games, meetings or other social events). The ON PAUSE restrictions continue (with a few minor modifications) in the Mid-Hudson Region which includes Ulster, Dutchess, Sullivan, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.
Under EO 202.31, the prohibitions on having any in-person workforce have been lifted for a limited number of non-essential businesses and entities (Phase One Industries) in the following five regions: Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions. These regions have met all seven health metrics required to begin Phase One of the Governor’s “NY Forward Reopening” Plan, which includes four phases to get people back to work and ease social isolation without triggering the renewed spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Phase One Industries include:
- Building Equipment Contractors
- Building Finishing Contractors
- Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors
- Highway, Street and Bridge Construction
- Land Subdivision
- Nonresidential Building Construction
- Residential Building Construction
- Utility System Construction
- Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
- Greenhouse, Nursery, and Floriculture Production
- Other Animal Production
- Other Crop Production
- Support Activities for Animal Production
- Support Activities for Crop Production
- Support Activities for Forestry
- Retail (Limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off)
- Clothing Stores
- Direct Selling Establishments
- Electronics and Appliance Stores
- Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses
- Furniture and Home Furnishing Stores
- General Merchandise Stores
- Health and Personal Care Stores
- Jewelry, Luggage, and Leather Goods Stores
- Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores
- Office Supplies, Stationery, and Gift Stores
- Used Merchandise Stores
- Shoe Stores
- Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument and Book Stores
- Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers
- Apparel Manufacturing
- Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing
- Electric Lighting Equipment Manufacturing
- Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
- Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing
- Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing
- Machinery Manufacturing
- Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing
- Paper Manufacturing
- Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
- Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing
- Printing and Related Support Activities
- Textile Mills
- Textile Product Mills
- Wood Product Manufacturing
- Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing
- Wholesale Trade
- Apparel, Piece Goods, and Notions Merchant Wholesalers
- Chemical and Allied Products Merchant Wholesalers
- Furniture and Home Furnishing Merchant Wholesalers
- Household Appliances and Electrical and Electronic Goods Merchant Wholesalers
- Machinery, Equipment, and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
- Metal and Mineral (except Petroleum) Merchant Wholesalers
- Paper and Paper Product Merchant Wholesalers
- Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers
- Miscellaneous Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers
- Miscellaneous Nondurable Goods Merchant Wholesalers
Business guidance for Phase One of the “NY Forward Reopening” Plan is available here. All businesses or entities, essential and non-essential, must operate in accordance with this guidance which was created by the New York State Department of Health. In addition, a guide to the state’s “NY Forward Reopening” Plan is available here.
It is important to note Phase One does not modify the NY PAUSE prohibition on gatherings of any size for any reason.
Keane & Beane will be issue a separate legal alert on the guidelines for other phases as necessary.
Status of the Mid-Hudson Region
The Westchester County Executive has stated that he expects the Mid-Hudson Region to meet the seven metrics at some point next week. Although the Phase One NY Forward Reopening guidelines do not apply to the Phase One Industries in the Mid-Hudson Region at this time, they will as soon as all seven metrics are satisfied.
The Governor’s office has also advised that certain low-risk businesses and recreational activities will be ready to reopen statewide earlier, including tennis, landscaping and gardening. It is our understanding that the State is still preparing guidance concerning these businesses and recreational activities and further direction will be provided as soon as possible. However, EO 202.31 does allow drive-in movie theaters throughout New York State to open as of May 15. Feel free to get out and enjoy a movie from your car this weekend!
Consult Counsel Regarding Specific Questions
If you have any questions or concerns regarding Executive Order 202.31 or this legal alert or require further assistance with this topic, please feel free to contact Eric L. Gordon or Drew Victoria Gamils or any other attorney in our Municipal or Education Law Practice Group
 The seven health metrics have been established based on guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of State, and other public health experts. A description of the metrics is available here.