New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference held in LaGuardia Airport’s new Terminal B on June 10, 2020 in New York City.

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New York will allow five central and upstate regions to move to phase three of reopening on Friday, permitting restaurants to reopen for indoor dining as well as other businesses, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday. 

The announcement comes as the coronavirus continues to spread more rapidly in some states that were among the first and most aggressive to reopen, such as Texas and Arizona. New York has continued to see a decline in new cases as the state gradually reopens. 

“We’ve had the most science-based, the most informed reopening, I think it’s fair to say, in the country,” Cuomo said at a news briefing. “It is nothing about intuition, nothing about politics. Look at the numbers. Follow the numbers.”

As of Wednesday, there were 2,042 total Covid-19 hospitalizations in the state, Cuomo said, the lowest since March 21. He added that 36 people died of the disease on June 10, down from the state’s peak of nearly 800 fatalities per day in mid-April. 

The five regions moving into phase three of reopening on Friday are: North County, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, Finger Lakes and Central New York. Cuomo said a team of “global experts” went through the data, including hospitalization rate, intensive care capacity, testing capacity and other indicators, to make the decision.

Source: The State of New York

Under phase three guidelines, restaurants can open for indoor dining at 50% capacity along with some other modifications meant to reduce the risk of spread. Personal care facilities such as tattoo parlors, nail salons and spas can reopen as well, also with capacity limited to 50% and other restrictions

Cuomo urged business owners to abide by the state regulations, adding that “you can lose your right to operate” if a business is found to be violating the state’s requirements.

“I know businesses are anxious to open. Everybody is anxious to get the economy going. Please follow the guidelines and do what is permissible to do,” Cuomo said. “Covid is still out there.”

While the spread of the virus has continued to decline in New York, it has spiked elsewhere. Cuomo pointed to an array of other states that have recently seen an uptick in cases or hospitalizations since they began to reopen. He said 21 states have seen an increase, and 14 have reported record high numbers of daily new coronavirus cases. 

“We are the exception. To date, we are the exception. And that can change and that can change over night,” he said. “It’s the same story. ‘We want to reopen, we want to reopen. It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine.’ No, it’s fine until it’s not fine.”

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