Governor says North Country can start limited reopening this weekend

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during his daily COVID-19 press briefing May 13 at Jefferson Community College in Watertown. (Provided photo — Sydney Schaefer, Watertown Daily Times)

WATERTOWN — Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking at Jefferson Community College Wednesday morning, said the North Country has met all the parameters to reopen some businesses starting Friday.

The last of seven criteria the region need to meet was 30 per 1,000 residents tested for COVID-19 each month. The requirement is to reach 419 tests per day, and the region met that goal today with 454 tests per day.

The region has 52% of its hospital beds available, meeting and exceeding the 30% requirement. Hospitals also have 68% of its intensive care unit beds, meeting and exceeding the 30% requirement.

The region has also met the requirement of having 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents in the region.

The state closed down all nonessential businesses under the New York State on PAUSE executive order after the coronavirus pandemic hit in March.

The North Country and other regions cleared to start reopening will be able to restart the construction, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors, and allow retail stores to provide curbside pickup this weekend. Statewide, some activities deemed “low-risk” can also reopen, such as landscaping, gardening, tennis and drive-in movie theaters.

Other industries will be reopened in phases, at the direction of a regional panel. The regional panels will be tasked with keeping an eye on the number of hospital deaths and the regional rates of transmission, and may recommend adjustments to openings if necessary.

The area defined by the state as the North Country includes Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, Essex and Hamilton counties.


This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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