What you should know

More than 40,000 people in the tri-state area have died from COVID-19, including New York’s “probable” deaths. NJ death toll topped 10,000 on Friday, while NYC’s topped 20,000 a day earlier. Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted his “PAUSE” order for the Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, Central New York regions. and Finger Lakes in New York beginning at 12:01 am Friday. New York has reached 4 out of 7 benchmarks, so its opening has been delayed. All state beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware may reopen on May 22. Separately, NJ will open a limited number of in-person polling places for its primary on July 7, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

NEW YORK – Starting Friday, for the first time in two months, parts of New York are eligible to reopen their businesses, a ray of light and hope amid the tragedy that continues to cover the tri-state area devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and much of the nation. Another positive sign: All state beaches in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will reopen for Memorial Day weekend.

These encouraging milestones face much bleaker others: New Jersey topped 10,000 deaths on Friday, while New York City eclipsed 20,000, including its “probable” deaths, a day earlier. At the same time, the number of lives lost increased to more than 40,000, representing almost half of all deaths in the United States and approximately one in eight worldwide.

Still, all three governors say their states have flattened the curve to the point where they feel comfortable taking the initial, calculated steps in reopening.

Five of New York’s 10 regions now meet Cuomo’s criteria for doing so, and the governor signed an executive order lifting his “stay home” directives starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday. The Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions have reached the seven benchmarks required to enter Phase I and can do so at any time, with caution, Cuomo said.

“They are the regions that meet the criteria. There is no policy in this trial, everything is based on the numbers,” Cuomo said Friday.

Masks are required for interior / exterior construction as well as sidewalk pickup at retail stores. Physical distancing mandates apply. Store pickup is allowed where curb pickup is not practical, but an advance order is required. Shop customers and employees must wear masks, and occupancy is limited to 50 percent of each store’s capacity, Cuomo said. The control center of each region is responsible for enforcing commercial compliance and social distancing. They will also have daily meetings to review infection and hospitalization rates.

“We hope to see an increase, but that increase must be monitored and controlled,” Cuomo said. “When the transmission rate reaches 1 to 1, you’re heading to a bad place.”

The Governor extended his “PAUSE” order until May 28 for New York City and Long Island, which respectively met four and five of the parameters necessary to begin reopening. New York City has been struggling to maintain a downward trend in new daily hospital admissions. As of Friday’s report, the number increased by almost 20 the previous day, to 78, while the number of intensive care patients decreased.

The “PAUSE” extension applies to the other three regions: Capital, Mid-Hudson and Western New York, which have not yet checked all seven boxes. Cuomo says they can be “NO PAUSE” the moment they do. It has also relaxed certain restrictions across the state, allowing landscaping businesses to resume along with drive-ins. Outdoor activities that lead to social distancing, such as tennis, are also allowed.

All enforcement mechanisms will “continue in effect” until June 13, unless extended or modified by a future executive order. The declaration of disaster emergency that allowed PAUSE has also been extended up to that time.

New York police will continue to enforce Cuomo’s meeting ban, targeting groups of more than six adults, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday. Each NYPD headquarters has a dedicated car to respond to complaints of physical estrangement. Due to crowd concerns, police are limiting access to Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, along with Hudson River Park piers 45 and 46. Nearly 2,300 ambassadors and detachment supervisors have been deployed.

In the absence of serious public danger, the police will not take enforcement action against those who do not cover their faces, the mayor said. Video of a mother’s arrest for refusing to do so on the subway system sparked new criticism this week against New York police, who are already under fire for tactics used in some cases. While De Blasio has struggled with his methods in isolated cases, he says masks and physical distancing are proven mitigators of infection. Continuous application is necessary to reduce the infection rate and get closer to reopening.

State of Each Region in New York

Once the infections are contained, Cuomo wants each region to ensure that it has the mechanisms to prevent resurgence. That means keeping nearly a third of hospital and intensive care beds available and implementing robust testing and contract tracking infrastructure. It means setting up regional control rooms that can monitor developments and literally act as circuit breakers, immediately pausing to reopen if any region slips into a landmark at any given time.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is equally aware of the need to move cautiously. His state now reports more deaths and cases per 100,000 residents than any other in the country, but Murphy says New Jersey is ready to take its next small steps in the reopening process.

The governor made another move on Friday, signing an executive order allowing elective surgical and other invasive procedures to resume on May 26. He also announced that a limited number of in-person voting locations would be opened in each county for the July 7 state primaries, although he noted it will be primarily a vote-by-mail election.

“Every vote will be counted,” Murphy promised on Friday. “Our goals are twofold: to maximize our democracy and minimize the risk of disease.”

A day earlier, he announced that the beaches of New Jersey would reopen on May 22, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Cuomo followed those steps on Friday.

The uncertainty of the virus means that there is no summer as usual, but the beaches of the three states will open

Cuomo said all state beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware would reopen the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, part of the multi-state coordinated effort that Murphy had described earlier in the week.

Reopens come with a number of restrictions. If people don’t follow the rules, the beaches will be closed again, Cuomo warned.

City, town and county beaches may also reopen on May 22, at the discretion of their local governments. Governments planning to allow the reopening must notify states two days before the start date. New York City will not be among them.

De Blasio says the city is not yet ready to allow regular activities like barbecues and concerts in the parks, or to open public beaches and pools.

He outlined initial steps on Friday to protect the most vulnerable, including a $ 55 million investment to buy more than 74,000 low-income senior air conditioners, of which 22,000 will go to NYCHA residents. Installations begin next week. Four hundred and fifty thousand New Yorkers will receive subsidies on their utility bills, which are generally up to 30 percent higher in the summer.

The city is identifying cooling centers in high-risk communities; These sites will operate under physical distance guidelines and personal protective equipment (EPP or PPE). More outdoor cooling and hydration zones are also planned, such as fountains in parks, spray showers for children, and hydrant openings.

“Beaches and pools are not on the table at the moment. What we can guarantee is that the heat is coming no matter what,” said De Blasio, noting that last year was the hottest July 10 on record in the city. . “We understand that lives are at stake.”

New York cannot afford to lose more. The state has confirmed 22,304 virus deaths since it reported its first virus death on March 14, and Cuomo added 132 other names on Friday. More than 15,000 of those deaths are in New York City. The city’s health department reports another 5,057 probable deaths from the virus, raising its toll to more than 20,000. Even that may not fully encompass the scope of the tragedy.

To some extent, the mystery of this highly adaptable virus has clouded the beginning of the way forward. Experts urge states to proceed with caution. Some Democratic senators called Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont Thursday to delay his partial reopening plan, arguing with some of the sectors scheduled to resume first. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this coronavirus.

Asymptomatic people can transmit it. Antibody immunity is unproven. The virus cannot greatly prevent children, as previously believed. Instead, it can manifest itself in a much more discreet and life-threatening way. More than 100 cases of a new pediatric inflammatory syndrome possibly related to COVID-19 have been identified in New York, and another 17 in New Jersey. Most cases involve children under the age of 9, and the vast majority end up in intensive care; At least three children have died, two more deaths are under investigation.

The tri-state area has confirmed more than half a million cases of COVID-19 to date: 345,813 in New York (more than 190,000 in New York), 143,905 in New Jersey, 35,464, although the actual infections are probably much more extensive. . Nationwide, the virus killed nearly 87,000 people and sickened more than 1.4 million. Deaths worldwide topped 300,000 this week, according to Johns Hopkins.