Downtown Syracuse Business and Property Owners,
By the end of this week, we will know if Onondaga County meets the established criteria to begin  Phase One of the  New York Forward re-opening plan.
Will your business be eligible to re-open under Phase One?
New York State has categorized industries into the following four phases of re-opening:
Phase One
Phase Two
Phase Three
Phase Four
Retail (curbside pickup)
Wholesale trade
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting
Professional services
Administrative support
Real Estate / rental & leasing
Restaurants / Food Services
Arts Entertainment Recreation
New this week, New York State specified that  Phase One  will include not only manufacturing and construction, but also certain Retail activity. The following retail businesses will be permitted  to conduct  delivery and curbside pickup  when Onondaga County is approved for Phase One re-opening:
  • Clothing Stores
  • Direct Selling Establishments
  • Electronics and Appliance Stores
  • Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses
  • Furniture and Home Furnishing Stores
  • Florists
  • General Merchandise Stores
  • Health and Personal Care Stores
  • Jewelry, Luggage, and Leather Goods Stores
  • Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores
  • Office Supplies, Stationery, and Gift Stores
  • Used Merchandise Stores
  • Shoe Stores
  • Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument and Book Stores
  • Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers

What does this mean for Downtown Syracuse?
Construction projects (residential and non-residential) are eligible to resume when Onondaga County is approved for Phase One re-opening. Most street-level retailers will also be permitted to re-open in some capacity, using delivery and/or curbside pickup. For example, while salons and barbers remain on "pause," they will be allowed to sell personal care products to customers for curbside pickup. Similarly, while customers will not be allowed to browse inside housewares, clothing, and jewelry stores, they can browse online listings and arrange to pick up their merchandise curbside. Stores will be allowed to have multiple employees on-site to fulfill delivery and curbside orders, provided that each retailer's re-opening plan meets the state criteria.
What are the criteria - or how will your business be allowed to re-open?
According to New York State, all businesses - including essential businesses - must develop a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan. Every COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan should address the three elements of NY's  Business Safety Precautions:
  1. Protections for employees and customers - including possible adjustments to workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace; enacting social distancing protocols, and restricting non-essential travel for employees;
  2. Changes to the physical workspace - including requiring all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent close contact with others, and implementing strict cleaning and sanitation standards; and
  3. Implementing processes that meet our changing public health obligations - such as screening individuals when they enter the workplace, or reporting confirmed positives to customers.
Assistance with drafting your COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan
The state recognizes that "these processes will vary from business to business." New York Empire State Development has posted an FAQ to assist businesses with their re-opening plans, and businesses in Central New York are also encouraged to email with questions.
Regardless of which phase your business falls under, every business will need to draft a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan. Several organizations have provided industry-specific recommendations to assist businesses with writing their re-opening plans, including:
In addition, a  free webinar  this Friday, May 15 from 3pm - 4pm will provide insights from office, restaurant, and other companies' operations. Register for "Keeping Workers Safe as Businesses Re-open: Lessons from the Front Lines" by clicking  here .