HelpContact UsFOILSite Map

Custom Navigation

Living in Tompkins County linkLearning in Tompkins County linkVisiting Tompkins County linkBusiness in Tompkins County linkTompkins County Government link

You are here:

You are here

> COVID19 Information from NYS on PAUSE


Illustration of question marks with the words Frequently Asked Questions2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Updates from NYS on PAUSE

THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING of our community is our top priority. Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) is working closely with community partners to prevent and respond to the evolving novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

New York State on PAUSE:
In New York we know that Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone

What You Need to Know
Updated May 23, 2020, 2:15PM

  • Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North County, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson Valley, and Mohawk Valley Regions have met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state's regional phased reopening plan.
  • NYS on PAUSE will continue through May 28 for regions that have not started reopening; a region can enter Phase One of reopening as soon as it meets its required metrics.
  • If Number of Deaths Continues to Decrease and Tracing is Online, Long Island Could Reopen Wednesday, May 27th
  • Governor Cuomo released a guide to the state's "NY Forward Reopening" Plan, along with the state's regional monitoring dashboard.
  • New York State has doubled testing capacity to reach 40,000 diagnostic tests per day, and has more than 700 testing sites. We encourage eligible New Yorkers to find a nearby testing site and get tested.
  • New Yorkers are reminded to vote for finalists in the Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest by Monday, May 25th at
  • The $100M New York Forward Loan Fund will provide loans to small businesses, focusing on minority and women owned small businesses, that did not receive federal COVID-19 assistance.
  • The New York State sales tax filing deadline has been extended to June 22, 2020.
  • Summer school will be conducted through distance learning.
  • New York State is partnering with SOMOS to establish 28 additional testing sites at churches and community-based providers in predominately minority neighborhoods.
  • Religious gatherings of no more than 10 people and drive-in and parking lot services will be allowed statewide beginning Thursday, May 21st.
  • Long Island and Mid-Hudson Valley Regions will be permitted to begin construction staging in anticipation of phase one of reopening.
  • Memorial Day ceremonies of 10 people or less will be allowed statewide, with final decisions about ceremonies being left to local governments.
  • A new pilot program with 52 independent pharmacies will conduct 7,000 tests per week.
  • The state is making its contact tracing training curriculum available at no cost to all states through the National Governors Association.
  • In coordination with neighboring states, public and private beaches will open with certain restrictions on May 22, ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
  • Governor Cuomo issued executive orders 202.17 and 202.18 requiring all people in New York to wear masks or face coverings in public, including when taking public or private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles.
  • New Yorkers without health insurance can apply through NY State of Health through June 15, 2020; must apply within 60 days of losing coverage.
  • Health care workers can text NYFRONTLINE to 741-741 to access 24/7 emotional support services.
  • New Yorkers can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling.
  • Testing is free for all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider.
  • Your local health department is your community contact for COVID-19 concerns.
  • The source for What You Need to Know is the NYS Coronavirus (COVID-19) website
  • Visit the NYS Dept. of Ag & Markets COVID-19 website for additional What You Need to Know information, updated regularly.


[Top of Page]

Use of Cloth Face Masks When Out in Public and at Work 
See also Use of Face Masks and Cloth Coverings

— by anyone when out in public

Executive Order Requires All People in NYS to Wear Masks or Face Coverings in Public, effective Friday, April 17.
 “Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he will issue an Executive Order requiring all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, such as on public transportation. The Executive Order will go into effect on Friday, April 17th.”
Governor's press update here

— by employees when at work

Following is the passage related to employees wearing cloth face masks in the workplace. (Executive Order No. 202.16, 4/14/2020) .
… for the period from the date of this Executive Order through May 12, 2020:
For all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. This provision may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement as if it were an order pursuant to section 12 or 12-b of the Public Health Law. This requirement shall be effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.

10-point NYS on PAUSE plan

Governor Cuomo announced the "New York State on PAUSE" executive order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone.
  1. Effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22, all non-essential businesses statewide will be closed;
  2. Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time;
  3. Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced;
  4. When in public individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others;
  5. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet;
  6. Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people;
  7. Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders;
  8. Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health;
  9. Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations; and
  10. Use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes

Source: NYS on PAUSE website

[Top of Page]

How to file a complaint related to Phased Re-opening guidance

  • Complaints about Public Gatherings: Call County Dispatch, 607-273-8000
  • Public Complaints about Businesses: Call 2-1-1
  • Public Complaints about Construction Sites: Call 2-1-1
  • Worker Complaints about Working Conditions: NYS Dept of Labor Complaint Hotline 1-888-364-3065, or file using the form at
  • Business Safe Operation or Re-opening Inquiries: Call Tompkins County Environmental Health 607-274-6688,  

PLEASE NOTE: Calls to 9-1-1 should be for emergencies only.

[Top of Page]

Essential Business Guide


(enacted to address the COVID-19 Outbreak)

Please review NYS Frequently Asked Questions here.

UPDATED: MAY 21, 2020 

NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES OR ENTITIES: Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Orders, the following businesses are specifically enumerated as NON-ESSENTIAL and are, therefore, unable to request a designation:

  • Any large gathering or event venues, including but not limited to establishments that host concerts, conferences, or other in-person performances or presentations in front of an in-person audience;
  • Any dine-in or on-premise restaurant or bar service, excluding take-out or delivery for off-premise consumption;
  • Any facility authorized to conduct video lottery gaming or casino gaming;
  • Any gym, fitness centers, or exercise classes, except the remote or streaming service noted above;
  • Any movie theater;
  • Any indoor common portions of retail shopping malls with 100,000 or more square feet of retail space available for lease;
  • All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, family and children’s attractions; and
  • Any barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing parlors and related personal care services, including nail technicians, cosmetologists and estheticians, and the provision of electrolysis, laser hair removal services.

ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES OR ENTITIES, including any for-profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure, are not subject to the in-person restriction.

Essential Businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health (DOH) and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distancing measures to the extent possible.

This guidance is issued by the New York State Department of Economic Development d/b/a Empire State Development (ESD) and applies to each business location individually and is intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business. With respect to business or entities that operate or provide both essential and non-essential services, supplies or support, only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the workforce reduction restrictions.

State and local governments, including municipalities, authorities, and school districts, are exempt from these essential business reductions, but are subject to other provisions that restrict non-essential, in-person workforce and other operations under Executive Order 202.

For purposes of Executive Order 202.6, “Essential Business,” shall mean businesses operating in or as described at, within the following categories:

1. Essential health care operations 

2. Essential infrastructure 

3. Essential manufacturing 

4. Essential retail 

5. Essential services 

6. News media

7. Financial Institutions 

8. Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations 

9. Construction
All non-essential construction must safely shut down, except emergency construction, (e.g. a project necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone, but only to the point that it is safe to suspend work). Essential construction may proceed, according to specified qualifiers

10. Defense

11. Essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other businesses 

12. Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services 

13. Recreation

14. Professional services with extensive restrictions

Pursuant to Executive Order 202.10, all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reasons (e.g. worship services, parties, celebrations, or other social events) are canceled or postponed. Congregate services within houses of worship are prohibited. Houses of worship may only be used by individuals and only where appropriate social distancing of, at least, six feet between people can be maintained. Further, individuals should not gather in houses of worship, homes, or other locations for religious services until the end of this public health emergency. If possible, religious leaders should consider alternative forms of worship, replacing in-person gatherings with virtual services, such as phone or conference calls, videoconference calls, or online streaming.

If the function of your business is not listed here, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should only be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

To request designation as an essential business, please click here.

Restrictions on requesting designation as an essential business:


[Top of Page]

[Top of Page]

Protocols for Essential Personnel to Return to Work Following COVID-19 Exposure or Infection
March 28, 2020   (Download PDF)

Public and private sector organizations that provide essential services or functions where personnel are needed to perform critical functions, including infrastructure, public safety, and other essential operations, may allow personnel who were exposed to or are recovering from COVID-19 to work in the workplace setting, if needed to maintain essential operations. Click here for a listing of essential services or functions.

Essential personnel who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 can be permitted to work in the required workplace setting if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. Working from home would not be feasible for job duties;
  2. Personnel are asymptomatic;
  3. Personnel quarantine themselves when not at work;
  4. Personnel undergo temperature monitoring and symptom checks upon arrival to work and at least every 12 hours while at work, and self-monitor (i.e. take temperature, assess for symptoms) twice a day when at home;
  5. Personnel required to interact with individuals within 6 feet should wear a facemask1 while working for 14 days following the last exposure;
  6. Personnel whose job duties permit a separation of greater than 6 feet should have environmental controls in place to ensure adequate separation is maintained, and do not need to wear a facemask;
  7. If personnel develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) while working, they should immediately stop work and isolate at home; and
  8. Testing will be arranged for any personnel with symptoms.

Essential personnel with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can be permitted to work in the required workplace setting if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. Working from home would adversely impact essential services or functions, including critical public health and public works infrastructure in New York or the response to the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  2. Personnel have maintained isolation for at least 7 days after illness onset (i.e. symptoms first appeared) and have not had a fever for at least 72 hours, without the use of fever- reducing medications, and with other symptoms improving;
  3. Personnel who are recovering from COVID-19, according to the above condition, must wear a facemask* for 14 days following onset of illness.

* For the purposes of this guidance, a facemask is a well-secured mask that covers the mouth and nose. No personal fit testing is necessary for a facemask.

• Protocols for Essential Personnel Returning to Work (NYSDOH, Rev.2, 3/31/20, PDF)
• Protocols for Personnel in Healthcare and Other Direct Care Settings to Return to Work (NYSDOH, Rev.2, 3/31/20, PDF)


[Top of Page]