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  • Writer's picturePaul F. Keneally

Re-opening New York State from COVID Pause - Phase II

In addition to Paul Keneally, this post was authored with input from Alina Nadir and Jennifer Shoemaker.

On Friday May 29, 2020 during his 1:00 P.M. press conference, Governor Cuomo announced that Phase II of the New York Re-opening will begin in some regions, including our Finger Lakes Region.

Adding to the essential and Phase I businesses already partially or fully open, additional businesses that will be permitted to operate more freely than before include:

  • Offices

  • Phase II retail

  • Vehicle sales, leasing and rental

  • Retail rental, repair and cleaning

  • Commercial building management

  • Hair salons and barbershops

Specific Guidance for each industry can be found here.

As before, all NY employers must prepare a Business Re-opening Safety Plan (a template for which can be found through the link above).

The Business Re-opening Safety Plan need not be filed with any Government Agency, but must be available for review upon request and a Business Affirmation that the relevant Guidance has been reviewed must be executed and submitted electronically as also described through the link above.

The Business Re-opening Safety Plan must identify the relevant industry, contain business Owner/Manager and/or an HR Representative's contact information and address four categories:

  • People-Physical Distancing

  • Places-Protective Equipment/Hygiene and Cleaning/Communication

  • Process-Screening/Contact Tracing and Disinfection of Contaminated Areas

  • Other business-specific issues

Six feet of separation is still the benchmark with face coverings to be worn if closer. Face coverings are to be provided by employers if employees do not have thier own.

Additional barriers between employees such as interior walls, partition and plastic shields are recommended. Daily cleaning protocols are required. Daily screening is required, but that screening does not have to include temperature-taking or COVID-testing. A process to assist in contact tracing/contaminated area cleaning required.


We will cover the office industry in depth here; other industry guidances are similar but have some key differences. Guidelines are to apply to all business activities in offices newly opening or opened before as essential.

Professional service, nonprofit, technology, administrative support, and higher education administration (excluding full campus re-opening) offices are included. These guidelines also apply to the office portions of employers who operate part of their business functions under different guidelines (ex. construction company front office).



  • Occupancy is never to exceed 50% of the maximum permitted under the certificate of occupancy

  • There is to be 6 foot distancing, unless safety of the core activity requires a shorter distance

  • Face coverings are to be worn if 6 foot distancing is not maintained at any time.

  • The business is to post social distancing markers

  • Limit meetings to those with an essential status only and with 6 foot distancing.

  • Shared workstations are to cleaned between users

  • Reduce interpersonal contact through adjusted hours/staggered shift times.

  • Keep non-essential common areas closed


  • Provide workers with face coverings at no cost

  • Face coverings may be homemade sewn, quick cut, a bandana, a surgical mask or face shield

  • Clean, replace and prohibit sharing of face coverings

  • Train workers on use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Require face coverings in common areas

  • Limit sharing of any objects in workplace


  • Adhere to CDC and NYSDOH requirements and keep a log of same

  • Provide and maintain hand hygiene stations

  • Provide and encourage use of cleaning/disinfection supplies

  • Ensure equipment is regularly cleaned and disinfected

  • Cleaning and disinfecting of the office location, shared services and other areas

  • More frequently clean and disinfect high risk areas

  • Cleaning and disinfecting at least after each shift or more frequently

  • Specific targeted cleaning and disinfecting in the case of an employee having a positive COVID test

  • Prohibit shared food and beverages


  • Affirm review of guidelines and that they will be implemented

  • Post signage inside and outside of office location

  • Train all personnel on new protocols

  • Establish a communication plan

  • Provide the building manager a list of essential visitors expected

  • Maintain a continuous log of every person who may have close contact with other individuals at the worksite

  • If a worker or visitor tests positive for COVID, notify state and local health departments and cooperate with applicable contact tracing, while also maintaining confidentiality to extent required by state and federal law

  • Post safety plan onsite


  • Sick workers should stay home, or go home if already at work

  • Implement mandatory daily health screening assessment (temperature-taking, COVID-testing each optional) as to symptoms, testing and/or contact with a person who has COVID

  • Coordinate with the building manager as to screening

  • Train on-site screeners as to CDC, DOH and OSHA guidelines, and be sure they wear a face covering

  • Identify a point of contact for workers and visitors

  • Have a plan to handle a positive case as to cleaning, disinfecting, contact tracing



  • Reconfigure workstations and office areas

  • Implement clean desk policies

  • Limit use of shared workstations where feasible

  • Leverage technology to assist in proper office space utilization

  • Use 6 foot circles around workstations and common work areas

  • Reduce bi-directional foot traffic

  • Limit on-site interactions and movements

  • Add desks to spaces previously used for meetings

  • Close non-essential communal areas

  • Stagger worker schedules

  • Consider limiting non-essential travel


  • Maintain adequate supply of face coverings and other PPE


  • Avoid use of furniture that isn't easily cleaned or disinfected

  • Increase ventilation of outdoor air into the building where safely possible


  • Develop webpages, text and email groups and social media campaigns to provide information to workers, customers and visitors

  • Work with building management on building-wide communications

  • Post signage inside and outside the building regarding the safety plan


  • Prevent workers from close contact prior to screening

  • Daily temperature checks are optional

  • Keep a log of every person who may have close contact with other individual to assist with possible contact tracing

  • Screen individuals at or near the entrance

  • Coordinate with building management as to remote screening, if any

  • Consider use of a secondary screening site for possible symptomatic individuals

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here or call us at 585.258.2800.

You can view more COVID-19-related posts in our COVID-19 Resource Area here.

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