Welcome to Friday. I hope you are looking forward to the weekend and trust this e-mail continues to find you and your families healthy and safe.
Thursday evening, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued his thirty-second Executive Order during this state of emergency. As with all previous Executive Orders, Executive Order 202.31 modifies or suspends certain New York statutes, laws, codes, rules and regulations, as well as sets forth certain directives, all of which are designed to address matters related to the COVID-19 crisis. In this instance, Executive Order 202.31 places significant emphasis on New York on Pause, and in particular, the first steps towards reducing certain New York on Pause restrictions in the state. Executive Order 202.31 is effective from May 14, 2020 through June 13, 2020. A copy of Executive Order 202.31 can be found here.
New York on Pause – Extension and Hitting the Restart Button, Phase One
- Executive Order 202.28 previously extended New York on Pause (set out in provisions contained in Executive Orders 202.3, 202.4, 202.5, 202.6, 202.7, 202.8, 202.10, 202.11, 202.13, and 202.14) until May 15, 2020. Pursuant to Executive Order 202.31, New York on Pause, which closed or otherwise restricted public or private businesses or places of public accommodation, and which required postponement or cancellation of all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations, games, meetings or other social events), is continued and extended until May 28, 2020 unless later amended or extended by a future Executive Order.
- Notwithstanding this extension, Executive Order 202.31 provides that effective at 12:01 a.m. on May 15, 2020, the reductions and restrictions on the in-person workforce at non-essential businesses or other entities shall no longer apply to “Phase One Industries”. Phase One Industries consist of Construction, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishery and Hunting, Retail (Limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off), Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade. These businesses or entities must be operated subject to the guidance promulgated by the Health Department. Moreover, only those businesses or entities in a region that meets the prescribed public health and safety metrics, as determined by the Health Department, will be eligible for reopening.
- As of May 14, 2020, the only regions that can open Phase One Industries are: Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and the North Country regions comprising the counties of: Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates, Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence. Critically, any additional regions which meet the criteria after May 14, 2020 will be deemed to be incorporated into this Executive Order without further revision and will be permitted to re-open Phase One Industries, subject to the same terms and conditions set out in Executive Order 202.31.
- All enforcement mechanisms by state or local governments shall continue to be in full force an effect until June 13, 2020 unless later extended or amended by a future Executive Order.
Green Light to Drive-In Movies
- Executive Order 202.31 modifies the directive contained in Executive Order 202.3 which closed movie theaters until further notice (extended by Executive Order 202.14 and EO 202.28), to provide that a drive-in movie theater shall not be required to close, but shall be treated as any other business per Executive Order 202.6, which designated certain businesses as essential or non-essential and subjected such businesses to in-person presence restrictions in the workplace.
Digital Signature on Documents
- Executive Order 202.31 also modifies the directive contained in Executive Order 202.15 authorizing the Department of Taxation and Finance to accept digital signatures in lieu of handwritten signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liability, so as to authorize such acceptance for the duration of the disaster emergency.
SUPENDED OR MODIFIED LAWS, REGULATIONS AND CODES
As with all prior executive orders, Executive Order 202.31 also suspends or modifies certain laws, codes, rules and regulations to aid in New York’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis this time through June 13, 2020. The laws and regulations modified or suspended under Executive Order 202.31, by modifying or suspending the applicable laws, codes, rules and regulations, to the extent necessary:
- Prevents forfeiture of effective benefit days to provide claimants with temporary relief from serving forfeit day penalties during the COVID-19 disaster emergency; and
- Suspends section 240.35 of the Penal Law, to the extent it is inconsistent with any directive requiring an individual wear a face covering in public or otherwise.