After being "on pause" for nine weeks, the Hudson Valley is officially reopening and could rapidly move through the reopening stages.

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On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Mid-Hudson and Long Island regions were on track to start the four-phased reopening process "this week."

“This is good news for Dutchess County, a cautious beginning to restarting our local economy. We have worked tirelessly in the battle against COVID-19 and all of the metrics prove we have moved in the right direction," Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said on Friday. "Our local businesses have also been working hard to put plans in place to ensure the health and safety of their employees and their customers. It is critical we all continue to work together to protect our community’s health as we begin the process of ‘Restarting Dutchess'"

On Saturday, Cuomo announced Mid-Hudson Region is on track to reopen on Tuesday if COVID-19 deaths continue to decline and the region completes its contact tracing program.

On Tuesday morning, during an exclusive interview with The Boris and Robyn Show on 101.5 WPDH, Molinaro said the Mid-Hudson Region is officially open.

"We are beginning Phase 1. This is official. We begin today. Today begins that restarting process," Molinaro said. "As long as we keep the hospitalizations down, we can progressively move through these stages pretty rapidly."

Molinaro noted it might not be 14 days in between phases and said each phase could last seven to 10 days. He believes 14 days between each phase is the worst-case scenario.

He also confirmed retail businesses can now sell retail for curbside or in-store pickup.

"We now begin a new chapter," Molinaro said. "The work we all do going forward will determine our course forward. Businesses will be slowly reopening with strict health and safety plans in place that must be followed. Public health teams will be watching all of the data closely to protect our community health. Individuals must maintain their vigilance in protecting themselves and their families – wear face coverings when going out, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands. Continuing to make smart choices will protect our community."

Under his plan, a region can start Phase 1 of the reopening process if all seven metrics are hit.

Phase 1 includes the reopening of:

  • Construction
  • Retail: Curbside pick-up
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting

“While we have met our requirements to re-open, the Governor is requiring businesses to follow the NY Forward requirements,” Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said. “This means safety plans must be in place and businesses must read and certify that they are able to comply. While numbers of new positive cases are decreasing, a failure to wear face coverings, wash hands regularly and take necessary social distance measures can move us quickly in the wrong direction.”

Live Updates: Coronavirus in the Hudson Valley

Cuomo said the issue holding the Mid-Hudson Region back was contact tracers. He said they identified enough contact tracers who were scheduled to be trained during Memorial Day Weekend, which will allow the region to start Phase 1 on Tuesday.

"We are exceptionally grateful to all those who have signed up to volunteer as contact tracers – it is critical the training is completed this weekend to ensure our reopening proceeds on Tuesday. Thank you for making our Tuesday reopening possible!” We have been preparing for this moment for several weeks now, and I am confident that if we all work together we can and will re-open safely," Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said. "While this is welcome news from New York State, it is now even more important that we all do our part to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and wash our hands. Every single resident has a role to play in making sure we re-open responsibly and safely."

The job of a contract tracer is to reach out to the contacts of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to assess symptoms, ensure compliance with quarantine and determine social support needs. The region is actively looking for more contract tracers.

Based on CDC recommendations, Cuomo laid out seven benchmarks regions must meet to reopen, including hospital capacity, daily deaths and new infections.

“The counties in this region have worked hard to get to this stage. We stayed home, stayed safe and flattened the curve, and now we are eager to get back to business,” Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said. “The businesses that will reopen will make safety their first priority. We want people working, and we also want to keep our communities safe.”

Phase 2 is retail, real estate and finance. Phase 3 will allow restaurants and hotels to reopen. And Phase 4 includes entertainment venues and schools.

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