JAMESTOWN – Two local state representatives released a schedule Thursday for reopening businesses in the region.
As a follow-up to their “Restarting New York” plan, New York State Senator George Borrello and State Assemblyman Andy Goodell have now constructed a schedule for reopening business sectors based on their inherent risk levels and the ability to mitigate those risks.
The plan provides a detailed breakdown of lower and higher risk business sectors, through analysis of the workplace setting and occupational characteristics and the ease of adapting safety protocols to these environments and activities.
Sectors and settings identified as “lower risk” include manufacturing, construction, retail, low-density administrative and sole proprietor small businesses, among others.
Sectors identified as “higher risk” include entertainment, adult day care services, high-density settings and mass transit.
The plan stresses that regional and individual business plans should include all safety measures to reduce the risk as much as possible.
The strategy also acknowledges that church services, weddings and other religious activities can have higher inherent risks because of the density of their activities, but notes that these activities enjoy special constitutional protections under the First Amendment, and, as such, should be allowed as soon as possible with reasonable safety protocols.
The two forwarded the plan to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul who is leading reopening efforts in Western New York.
While expressing support for the Governor’s Un-PAUSE NY plan, the lawmakers recommend two changes to the 12-point system for evaluating when a region should restart. The changes include:
- adjusting the recommendation regarding hospital rates, which under the Governor’s plan must show a 14-day decline. Senator Borrello and Assemblyman Goodell suggest that hospital rates could be “stable or declining” for 14 days without compromising safety or hospital capacity.
- modifying the contact tracing capacity from the current “30 tracers for every 100,000 residents” to “30 tracers per 100,000 residents or at least two contact tracers for every confirmed active case,” whichever is less. They note that under the current guideline, a county the size of Rockland with 311,000 residents and with 11,453 confirmed cases would have just one tracer for every 123 cases, yet the same formula in Chautauqua County, with four active cases, would result in 7.5 tracers for every active case.