*Information in this Alert is current as of 4 p.m., June 10, 2020. The alert may be updated as New York clarifies reopening details.

New York State has published guidance for industries permitted to reopen in “Phase Three” of its reopening plan. At this time, all regions in the State, besides New York City and Long Island, are in “Phase Two” of reopening.

Industries Covered by Phase Three Guidance

The State lists just two industries under Phase Three of the reopening plan. Businesses falling within these industries should carefully review New York Forward’s guidance (linked below) to ensure compliance with the State’s mandatory guidelines:

The “restaurant/food services” industry guidance indicates that it applies to all restaurants and food services establishments, including food trucks and other food concessions.

The “personal care” industry guidance states that it applies to all non-hair related personal care businesses and services, including tattoo and piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, spas, cosmetology, nail specialty, tanning and waxing. Notably, the “personal care” industry guidance does not apply to any hair-related personal care services.

Requirements for All Phase Three Businesses

While the Phase Three guidance documents are specific to their respective industries, there are a number of common requirements included in both:

  • Limited in-person capacity and social distancing: Business are required to limit in-person capacity to no more than 50 percent of maximum occupancy.(Whether the workforce is counted in the capacity count is dependent on the industry.) With some exceptions, businesses must ensure that there is six feet of separation between individuals at all times.
  • Safety plan: Businesses must prepare and “conspicuously post” a “Safety Plan.” A safety plan template is available on the New York Forward website.
  • Post specific signage: Businesses are required to post signage to remind employees and customers to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of personal protective equipment, and cleaning and disinfection protocols.
  • Face coverings: Businesses must provide employees with an acceptable face covering at no cost to the employee and have an adequate supply of coverings for replacements. Under most circumstances, employees are required to wear face coverings when interacting with customers.
  • Designated areas: Businesses must establish designated areas for pickups and deliveries, limiting contact among individuals to the extent possible.
  • Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection: Businesses must adhere to hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH). Importantly, businesses must also maintain logs that document date, time, and scope of cleaning.
  • Screenings: Businesses are required to implement mandatory daily health screening practices (e.g. questionnaires and temperature checks) of their employees and, where practicable, vendors; but such screening is not mandated for customers and delivery personnel. At a minimum, screening must determine whether the employee or vendor has had: 1) COVID-19 symptoms in past 14 days, (2) positive COVID-19 test in past 14 days, and/or (3) close contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in past 14 days. 

Next Steps For Phase Three Businesses

Any business with uncertainty as to whether it is permitted to reopen should utilize New York Forward’s “Business Reopening Lookup Tool.” As explained in our previous alert on the State’s guidance for the reopening of Phase Two industries, the Lookup Tool evaluates a business’ particular industry specification and location, and subsequently indicates whether the particular business is eligible for reopening based on current guidance.

Prior to reopening, Phase Three businesses must thoroughly review the State’s guidance for their respective industry, and click on the “Business Affirmation” link located at the end of the guidance document. Businesses must then input specific information into the “Business Affirmation” document and upon completion, click “submit.”

In addition to the standards listed in the guidance, businesses must continue to comply with the directives for maintaining clean and safe work environments issued by New York State Department of Health. The guidance makes clear that where it differs from other guidance documents issued by New York State, the more recent guidance applies.

This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.