NYS travel advisory to expand

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Why gyms, movie theaters, and casinos won’t open in New York’s Phase 4

In response to increased rates of COVID-19 transmission in certain states and to protect N.Y.’s successful containment of COVID-19, the State has joined with N.J. and Conn. in jointly issuing a travel advisory for anyone returning from travel to states that have a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19. This travel advisory is effective now.

Travelers from eight additional states — including California — could soon be added to the mandatory quarantine order, which would push the total to 16 states representing nearly half the country’s population.

Cuomo’s office intends to analyze each state’s COVID-19 data Monday night and Tuesday morning to determine which states will join the original eight subject to the travel order, which requires travelers from places with high infection rates to isolate for 14 days upon arrival in N.Y. or the two neighboring states.

“Like virtually all the metrics we use, it will be a rolling average,” said Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s senior adviser and spokesman. “Monday night into Tuesday we’ll run the seven-day averages and then we’ll know for sure.”

Addressing Yates County accommodation businesses, Chamber of Commerce CEO Jessica Bacher stated, “It’s important that you advise any guests traveling from these states about this travel ban and quarantine at this time.”

A data analysis by the USA Today Network New York shows eight states were in line to be added to the list as of Sunday night:

California

Georgia

Iowa

Idaho

Louisiana

Mississippi

Nevada

Tennessee

That would double the original list of states that qualified when the order was first unveiled last week: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah, all of which continue to qualify.

The designated states with significant community spread will be conspicuously posted on the DOH website and will be updated weekly. Please check the site frequently as the information will change as often as daily, as rates of COVID-19 transmission increase or decrease. 

Changes to Phase 4

Regions in phase four will be permitted to hold social gatherings of up to 50 people; and indoor religious gatherings will be allowed at up to 33 percent of the indoor site’s capacity.

Businesses who are opening in Phase 4 must have their safety plan in place and affirm to their industry guidelines. NY Forward Phase 4 Guidelines

Malls, movie theaters, gyms & casinos are not permitted to open yet in Phase 4 as originally planned. 

Phase 4 was originally billed as the final stage, allowing for education, recreation, arts and entertainment facilities to reopen. And for weeks, theaters, fitness facilities and shopping malls thought that meant they would be able to open their doors.

But by last Wednesday morning, it became clear they will have to wait for a separate determination from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office before welcoming their customers back.

Cuomo said Wednesday the state is studying whether droplets infected with the coronavirus can be inadvertently spread via air conditioning in crowded indoor spaces before making a determination on gyms and shopping malls.

Among the venues that will have to remain closed and wait for Cuomo’s approval are amusement parks, arcades, bowling alleys, casinos, indoor concerts, movie theaters and indoor performing arts productions, according to the state documents.

“We’re just saying we’ve gotten some new information on how the virus spreads,” the governor said at a news conference in Manhattan. “We’re still studying it. We’ll have a decision after we process all the information.”

Outdoor performing arts events are limited to the statewide nonessential gathering limit.

Social gatherings are currently capped at a maximum of 25 people, while religious services are capped at 25% of a building’s capacity.

Last Wednesday, Cuomo said those numbers will increase in Phase 4: Social gatherings of up to 50 people will be permitted, while religious services will be upped to 33% capacity.