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> COVID19 Moving Forward Phases for Reopening

moving forward badge2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Moving Forward: Reopening Phases

As New York State shares guidelines around a safe and coordinated reopening of communities, the Tompkins County Health Department will provide updated information, FAQs, and local resources here.

General Guidelines for Reopening

  • Phased Reopening under NY Forward refers to when specific non-essential businesses and business activities are permitted to begin operations following the guidance detailed by NYS. Essential businesses and business activities that are open will remain open.
  • What Businesses:
    A summary of business types that are permitted to reopen, with links to industry-specific guidance, is below.
  • Image of the poster described on this pageGuidance:
    for specific industries is provided by NYS.
    • Summary Guidance includes Physical distancing; Protective equipment; Hygiene, cleaning, disinfecting; Communication; Screening
    • Master Guidance includes People, Places, Processes, Employer Plans, Affirmation
    • Links are in the industry summaries, below
  • Required Affirmation:
    All businesses and entities are required to submit to the State an Affirmation that they have read and will follow the Master Guidance for their industry.
    • Instructions for submitting the affirmation are on the last page of every Master Guidance document. Use the Master Guidance link in the relevant summary below
    • The poster, “We are Following NYS Guidance” is available to display at workplaces who have submitted their affirmation to NYS. 
  • Keep Tompkins Healthy posterRequired Safety Plan:
    Businesses and entities are also required to prepare a Safety Plan, and post that Safety Plan on the premises of their workplace. Click here to open a NYS Safety Plan Template.

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Summary of Industries and Business Types


Phase 1

  • Construction
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
  • Retail - (Limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off)
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Higher Education Research

Details and Guidance Documents on the NY Forward Phase 1 web page

Phase 2:
Executive Order 202.35 (5/29/20)

Offices, Real Estate, Essential and Phase 2 In-Store Retail, Vehicle Sales Leases and Rentals, Retail Rental Repair & Cleaning, Commercial Building Management, Hair Salons and Barbershops, Outdoor & Take-Out/ Delivery Food Services, Dentistry

  • Business activities where the core function takes place within an office setting, including but not limited to businesses and entities in the following sectors: Professional services, nonprofit, technology, administrative support, and higher education administration (excluding full campus reopening).
    • May also apply to business operating parts of their business functions under different guidelines, e.g., front office for a construction company.
    • Does not apply to medical offices, such as doctors’ offices or dentists’ offices. Details and exclusions in the Master Guidance document.
  • Summary Guidance
  • Master Guidance and Affirmation link
Real Estate
  • Residential property management entities, real estate salespeople/brokers, building inspectors, building appraisers, and related activities. Details and exclusions in the Master Guidance document.
  • Summary Guidance
  • Master Guidance and Affirmation link
Essential and Phase 2 In-Store Retail
  • All in-store essential retail business activities throughout the state, and to all in-store non-essential retail business activities. Details and exclusions in the Master Guidance document.
    • Does not apply to businesses covered under other industries.
  • Summary Guidance
  • Master Guidance and Affirmation link
Vehicle Sales, Leases, and Rentals
Retail Rental, Repair, and Cleaning
  • Businesses such as electronics repair, equipment rental, clothing rental, laundromats, other clothing/fabric cleaning services, and residential cleaning services. Details and exclusions in the Master Guidance document.
  • Summary Guidance
  • Master Guidance and Affirmation link
Commercial Building Management
  • Commercial/non-residential property management entities and related activities. Does not address tenants occupying office space and their employees and contractors. Details in the Master Guidance document.
  • Summary Guidance
  • Master Guidance and Affirmation link

Hair Salons and Barbershops
  • Hair service businesses including hair salons, barbershops, and other similar hair service businesses. Details in the Master Guidance document.
    • Does not apply to nail salons, tattoo parlors, or any other non-haircutting-related personal care services or activities, including but not limited to: beard trimming, nose hair trimming, facials, manicures/pedicures, makeup application, threading, tweezing, or waxing.
  • Summary Guidance
  • Master Guidance and Affirmation link

Outdoor and Take-Out/ Delivery Food Services
  • Applies to all restaurants and food services establishments including food trucks, and other food concessions in Phase 2 Regions.
    • Outdoor dining with seating for customers may open with tables distanced 6-feet apart
    • Outdoor bar seating may be opened only in areas where seating can be distanced 6-feet apart
    • Consumption of any dine-in food and/ or beverage must occur at tables or bar tops in these outdoor spaces
    • All staff must wear face coverings  
    • Customers must wear face coverings when not seated.
    • Dining and bar spaces indoors cannot open to customers
  • Master Guidance and Affirmation link

Business Safety Plan Template
NY Forward Phase 2 web page

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Phase 3:

Restaurants & Food Services, Personal Care Services

Restaurants and Food Services
  • Applies to all restaurants and food services establishments, including food trucks and other food concessions.
  • Indoor spaces with seating for customers may be opened, in accordance with the guidelines.
    • Limit indoor seating/ capacity to no more than 50% of posted occupancy. All indoor tables must be 6 feet apart in all directions, or with a physical barrier between tables.
    • Maximum outdoor capacity set by the number of tables the outdoor area can accommodate with all 6 feet apart.
    • Staff must wear face covering at all times.
    • Customers must wear face covering at all times, except when seated at their table.
    • Individuals seated together at a table must all be from the same party, though may be from different households. Maximum 10 individuals at any table.
    • Maintain 6 feet distance at all times when not seated at a table.
    • Reservations and order ahead options for dine-in customers (e.g., online or by phone) are encouraged.    
Personal Care Services
  • Applies to non hair related personal care businesses and services, including
    • tattoo and piercing facilities,
    • appearance enhancement practitioners,
    • massage therapy,
    • spas,
    • cosmetology,
    • nail specialty,
    • UV and non UV tanning,
    • waxing.
  • Does not apply to any hair related personal care services (e.g. haircutting, coloring, or styling), which are covered here, under Phase 2.

Business Safety Plan Template
Reminder posters for customer and employee health & safety
NY Forward Phase 3 web page

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Phase 4

Higher Education, Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools, Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment, Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment, Media Production, Malls

Higher Education
Local institutions
NYSDOH Documents

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TCHD Coordination on plans developed by local institutions

Following recent announcements by Cornell University on their revised plans to reopen campus, TCHD remains in ongoing communication with Cornell officials, and continues to maintain capacity for contact tracing investigations to ensure successful quarantine and isolation. See also this 8/7/20 press release from TCHD.

All plans adhere to guidance from New York State and the Tompkins County Health Department and are aligned with TCHD. Each institution will continue to adjust their plans as new guidance becomes available from New York State and TCHD. See also press release from Tompkins County, 7/23/20.

The following are incorporated in the COVID-19 response plans from Cornell, IC, & TC3:

  • Ongoing Testing and Health Screening
    • Implementing protocols for surveillance and diagnostic testing to identify and isolate positive cases, including partnerships with Cayuga Health System and developing internal capacity where possible.
    • Instituting ongoing systems for health screening of students and employees for COVID symptoms on a regular basis.
  • Contact Tracing and Monitoring
    • Partnering with TCHD to support all contact tracing efforts and orders for isolation and mandatory quarantine.
    • Providing appropriate isolation accommodations for students, if necessary.
  • Setting Expectations for Community Behavior and Social Responsibility
    • Encouraging students and all Tompkins County residents to follow the latest guidance from the CDC, NYS Department of Health, and TCHD on mask wearing, physical distancing, density, and hygiene.
    • Using community agreements to emphasize a shared responsibility to protect the health and safety of all members of the community.
    • Implementing sustained education and communication with students, faculty and staff to create new social norms on- and off-campus.
    • Creating accountability measures to deter non-compliance with the expected social norms.
  • Engaging in the Tompkins County Community
    • Recognizing that higher education is a critical employer and economic driver in Tompkins County and the Southern Tier region and working to maintain that role in the community.
    • Fostering safe and consistent opportunities for students, faculty and staff to engage in the local community.
  • On and Off Campus Operations
    • Modifying traditional academic and campus life activities to comply with health and safety guidelines, considering mental health and well-being needs.
    • Increasing collaboration with off-campus housing and private landlords
    • Proactive collection of local addresses of students to aid in any needed contact tracing.
    • Reducing density in on-campus spaces and restricting access to campus spaces by the general public.
    • Planning potential future alterations to in-person operations based on an ongoing assessment of the pandemic and state and regional metrics.

Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools
Tompkins County Districts’ websites
NYSDOH Documents
  • School superintendents Dr. Luvelle Brown (ICSD) and Dr. Jeffery Matteson (BOCES) joined the County COVID Update, live streamed 7/15/20, video available here.

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Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment
  • Includes outdoor zoos, botanical gardens, nature parks, grounds of historic sites and cultural institutions, outdoor museums, outdoor agritourism, local agricultural demonstrations and exhibitions; and other similar institutions/activities
  • Limit visitors to 33% of normal at any one time; maintain 6-foot distance except among members of the same household or party
  • Face covering required for visitors (over age 2 and able to medically tolerate)
  • Face covering required for employees when interacting with visitors or within 6 feet distance
  • Health screenings for employees daily; health screening for vendors and contractors when practicable
Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment
  • Includes indoor museums, art galleries, historical sites, aquariums, and other related institutions or activities
    • Retail associated with these venues must follow Phase 2 Retail guidance
    • Food services located within these venues must follow Interim Guidance for Food Services
  • Limit visitors to 25% of max occupancy of any particular space; maintain 6-foot distance except among members of the same household or party
  • Face covering required for all visitors (per NYS protocol)
  • Face covering required for employees when interacting with visitors or within 6 feet distance
Media Production
  • Includes all activities undertaken in motion picture, music, television, and streaming productions on set, on location, or at any production or recording site
  • Activities taking place within a production operation should follow guidance for that specific industry (e.g., hair and make-up, food services, construction services, property scouting, etc.)


Gyms & Fitness Centers:
  • Gyms and fitness centers can reopen starting August 24
  • Local health department inspection scheduled before or within 14 days after reopening any facility
  • All facilities may open after Sept. 2
  • County government may delay the start of indoor fitness classes beyond Sept. 2
  • Facilities are limited to 33% of their capacity
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times by staff and customers (with limited exceptions)
    • Bandanas, buffs, and gaiters are not acceptable face coverings for use in gyms and fitness centers
    • Face shields and cloth masks with ventilators are not acceptable face coverings in any situation (CDC)
  • Air handling systems must be certified as meeting MERV-13 level (e.g., HEPA) or greater filtration capabilities.
    • Facilities that do not have or do not control their air handling system must adopt ventilation and air filtration mitigation protocols, per CDC and ASHRAE recommendations.
  • Governor's announcement here.

Business Safety Plan Template
Phase 4 NY Forward web page

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Additional Statewide Guidelines

  • Travel Advisory, Child Care and Day Camps (includes playgrounds), Sports & Recreation, 
  • Lake and Ocean Beaches, Pools and recreation spraygrounds,
  • Religious and funeral services, Public transportation, Special Ed. services and instruction, Graduation celebrations,
  • Cooling centers, Professional sports training facilities, Auto racing, Racing activities

Travel Advisory

  • Effective at 12:01 AM, Thursday, June 25, 2020.
  • WHO: All travelers entering New York who have recently been in a Restricted State for more than 24 hours.  
  • WHAT: These individuals are required to quarantine for a period of 14 days, following these guidelines. Any individual who is in NYS for less than 14 days must remain in quarantine for the duration of their visit. Essential workers exemptions (see Exemptions below).  
  • WHERE: Restricted States are posted on the NYSDOH Travel Advisory web page and updated weekly or as warranted.
  • WHY: States are restricted due to significant community spread, defined as either
    • a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average; or
    • a testing positivity rate of higher than a 10% over a seven-day rolling average
  • Online Traveler Health Form (Required for all travelers)
    • All out-of-state travelers from restricted states must complete the Online Traveler Health Form upon entering New York, including essential workers. Travelers who fly may use the form online, or fill it out at the airport. Those who leave the airport without completing the form will be subject to a $2,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine.

  • Exemptions (individuals not subject to quarantine mandate)
    • Any individual who has been in a restricted state for less than 24 hours while traveling (rest stops, fueling, travel layover, etc.) Details here
    • Any Essential Workers, based on duration of time spent in a restricted state and /or intended duration of stay in New York. Detailed criteria for short-, medium-, and long-term duration;  <12 hours (deliveries), <36 hours (overnight), >36 hours (a few days) click here. Additional info on who is an essential worker is here.

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Child Care and Day Camps
  • Includes playgrounds, at the discretion of the local municipality (the City, Town or Village).
  • Post educational signage regarding protocols. Use this sign or similar.
  • Does not apply to overnight child care and camp programs.

Sports and Recreation Activities
  • Lower risk* sports and activities: Effective now.
  • Moderate risk* sports and recreation activities: Effective July 6.
  • Competitive tournaments requiring travel not allowed.
  • Protocols for distance, density, face coverings, and hygiene must be followed.
  • Youth sports: limit 2 spectators per youth player. All protocols must be followed.

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Lake and Ocean Beaches:
Pools and Recreational Aquatic Spray Grounds
Religious and Funeral Services:
Public Transportation
Special Education Services and Instruction
Graduation Celebrations
Professional Sports Training Facilities:
Cooling Centers
Auto Racing:
Racing Activities:
New York State Parks:

Business Safety Plan Template
NY Forward Statewide Guidelines page
 » Translations for Statewide Guidelines

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