New York State Announces New COVID Winter Strategy & Cluster Initiative

Date: December 15, 2020

No Indoor Dining in New York City; Gyms, Salons, Barbershops, and Personal Care Can Now Operate in Orange Zones

Governor Cuomo announced a new COVID winter strategy and updated micro-cluster zones across New York State in response to an increase in hospitalizations and positivity rates. Effective Dec. 14th, New York State’s cluster action initiative is now determined by a region’s percent positivity rate and a region or area’s hospital capacity.

The new metrics on entering a red zone will be implemented when a region, after the cancellation of elective procedures and a 50% increase in hospital capacity, is 21 days away from reaching 90% hospital capacity. A geographic area will enter an orange zone if it has a 4% positivity rate over the last 10 days and it is located in a region that has reached 85% hospital capacity. A geographic area may also become an orange zone if the New York State Dept. of Health determines the region’s rate of hospital admissions is unacceptably high and a zone designation is appropriate to control the rate of growth. A geographic area is eligible to enter a yellow zone if it has a 3% positivity rate over the past 10 days and is in the top 10% in the state for hospital admissions per capita over the past week and is experiencing week-over-week growth in daily admissions.

Additionally, some modifications have been made to restrictions in orange zones to allow gyms, salons, and barbershops to operate at a reduced capacity. Originally, orange zones required gyms, fitness centers, barbershops, hair salons, and personal care services to close. Now, in regions or geographic areas that are designated orange zones, gyms, fitness centers, and classes may operate at 25% capacity. Barbershops, hair salons, and personal care services can continue to provide services as long as employees are tested for COVID-19 every week. For a complete list of restrictions by cluster zone, visit the New York Forward website.

Governor Cuomo also announced that indoor dining in New York City has been suspended effective Dec. 14th. New York City restaurants can still provide takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining. At this time, there is no timeline in place for when indoor dining in New York City can resume. New York State may restrict indoor dining or reduce indoor dining capacity in other regions in the future.

Based on the new cluster metrics, modifications to current cluster zones have been made in Niagara County and there are new cluster zones in Genesee and Oneida Counties.

Niagara County Map

Genesee County Map

Oneida County Map

All other existing cluster zones remain in place at this time. For a complete list of maps and areas under restrictions, click here. Businesses can look up whether or not they are in a COVID-19 cluster/hot spot zone with this tool. For the latest on the COVID cluster zones and guidance, visit the New York Forward website.

Related Content: Small Business News | New York

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