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COVID-19: Protocols

COVID-19: NYS on Pause

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On March 22nd, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a mandated New York State on Pause order and as of May 15, the state has begun to reopen by region and in phases.

NYS on Pause Order


Beginning March 22nd, 2020 NYS has been under a mandated NYS on Pause order. All non-essential workers were ordered to work from home and NYS residents were required to remain home except for necessary errands and were also required to maintain a 6-feet distance from others in public. As of May 15th, NYS has begun reopening the state by region and in phases, see below, NYS Reopening Plan.

NYS Reopening Plan


There are four phases in the reopening process (related to the opening of businesses in the state). The loosening of restrictions in NYS is based on the following:

  • A sufficiently low infection rate;
  • The health care system has the capacity to absorb a potential resurgence in new cases;
  • Diagnostic testing capacity is sufficiently high to detect and isolate new cases; and
  • Robust contact-tracing capacity is in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.

For a comprehensive overview of the above listed metrics and what they mean visit:

For the NYS’ reopening plan, NY Forward: A Guide to Reopening New York & Building Back Better, click here.

Reopened Regions

All regions throughout NYS have started the reopening process. For a comprehensive overview of reopening NY, visit:


Each region will reopen business in phases (there are 4 phases), with at least two weeks in between each phase. The phase-in plan prioritizes businesses considered to have a greater economic impact and lower risks of infection for the workers and customers, followed by other businesses considered to have less economic impact and those that present a higher risk of infection. To view the industries reopening by phases visit:

NYS has a New York Forward Business Reopening Lookup Tool to help businesses determine whether or not it is eligible to reopen, and the public health and safety standards with which it must comply. To access the tool, visit The guidelines accessible via this tool apply to both non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to re-open and essential businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open.

The essential business guidance will remain in effect for the regions and industries that are not yet within the reopening phases.


The classification of essential and non-essential businesses was enacted to address the COVID-19 outbreak in New York State under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.6, which mandated all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities have their workers work from home. Essential businesses continued to operate throughout the NYS on Pause order.

To find a list of businesses designated as essential:

Businesses or entities not deemed essential by the executive order, had the opportunity to apply for an exemption from the Empire State Development Corporation.


All K-12 schools and college facilities will remain closed statewide for the remainder of the school year. Summer school will be conducted through distance learning.


During the reopening process strict safety and social distancing protocols remain in place, including maintaining a six-foot distance from others and the wearing of face masks, see below, COVID-19: Masks. To view Governor Cuomo’s 10-point plan of safety visit:

The governor has enforced a maximum fine violation of $1,000 for those who do not adhere to the state’s social distancing protocol. Localities have the authority to enforce these protocols. To file a complaint against one’s employer of place of work visit: To file a complaint against a business, location or incident in a community visit: “”: Individuals mays also call 833-789-0470 to file a complaint.

For more information, visit:


Under the latest order from Gov. Cuomo, up to 10 people can gather for non-essential purposes “provided that social distancing protocols and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the Department of Health are adhered to.” That means people still need to stay at least 6 feet away from other people, or wear a face covering when they cannot maintain that distance in public.


As NYS continues its phased reopening, each region must continue monitoring the following metrics:

  • Diagnostic testing rate;
  • Case and contact tracing capacity;
  • New infection rates;
  • Hospitalization rate;
  • Hospital bed capacity; and,
  • ICU bed capacity;

For a comprehensive description of the above listed metrics established based on guidance by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of State and other public health experts, visit the Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard.

NYS also has the following dashboard pages with data on the state’s containment of COVID-19: