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City Street in NYC

Reopening in NYC: Understanding the Impact of Phase 3

by Madison Meltz

As of July 6th, New York City has shifted into Phase 3 of the NY Forward reopening strategy; this article will provide a high-level overview of the resulting changes that pertain to employers. For all government guidance on Phase 3 of reopening, click here.

The primary employer-centric change stemming from Phase 3 in NYC is that personal care businesses are allowed to reopen. Personal care businesses include waxing studios, tattoo parlors, nail salons, and other cosmetic services. Personal care employers must meet standards that include, but are not limited to, resuming operations at < 50% occupancy, ensuring six feet of social distancing wherever possible, closing waiting rooms, and providing employees with face coverings. Additional requirements for specific cosmetic sectors, such as piercing parlors or massage therapist practices, are further outlined in the standards for reopening. 

It is important to note that food services were initially scheduled to reopen indoor dining options in Phase 3. However, at this time, indoor dining is still suspended indefinitely in an NYC-only modification of the reopening plan; Gov. Cuomo stated that the NYC exemption of indoor dining is largely accredited to it being a risk “that is most pronounced in New York City.” There has been no additional communication concerning a timeline for opening indoor dining options.

Further still, businesses in industries cleared for reopening in  Phase 1and Phase 2  are allowed to reopen and remain open in Phase 3. To determine whether a specific business is allowed to reopen, use this tool

In order for any approved business to open during Phase 3, the employer must meet the following two requirements:

  1. Develop and distribute a safety plan for the workplace that encapsulates how the business will meet all required industry guidelines to reopen
  2. Read the NYS interim guidelines for the employer's specific industry and fill out an affirmation form to affirm compliance
    • For additional information on interim guidelines for personal care services, click here.

NYS provides tools for employers to comply with new regulations including a sample employee screening questionnaire, an employer health screen review template, and a disinfectant log template. Additionally, the City of New York will provide over 4 million free face coverings to small businesses. For a full list of government support initiatives for NYC businesses, click here.

At this time, there appears to be no additional changes to the business landscape as a result of Phase 3 reopening. For real time updates, check the NYC Health COVID-19 webpage.

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