Businesses with operations in New York State and, particularly, in New York City, face unique obstacles with respect to reopening their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  With over 380,000 confirmed cases across the state, and over 200,000 confirmed cases in New York City, most New York residents have been affected by the virus in some way, and many are apprehensive about reentering the workplace. New York City’s dense population of over 8 million residents and approximately 10 million commuters — many of whom rely on public transportation — undoubtedly exacerbates these concerns.  In light of these concerns, Governor Cuomo extended portions of the New York On PAUSE Order until June 28, 2020 (or another date if specified by a future order), but has also issued a reopening plan that permits non-essential businesses to reopen in a phased approach based upon a data-driven, regional analysis.  On May 15, 2020, the first reopening phase (“Phase One”) began in several regions of New York and, on May 29, 2020, certain New York regions entered the second reopening phase. As of June 8, 2020, New York City — the region most impacted by the virus — entered Phase One.  Given this phased reopening approach – which eases at-home restrictions and concomitantly imposes new requirements – New York employers that intend to reopen are taking steps to ensure the safety of their employees and business while also ensuring compliance with New York State’s requirements.  To read about key considerations for New York employers as they consider plans and strategies to reopen their businesses, see our legal update, Returning to work in a pandemic:  COVID-19 considerations for New York employers.

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