Friday evening, Governor Cuomo posted his forty-sixth Executive Order related to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Executive Order 202.45, issued on June 26, 2020, 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 combat the COVID-19 crisis. Executive Order 202.45 also extends certain directives issued in prior Executive Orders. Executive Order 202.45 is effective from June 26, 2020 through July 26, 2020 and can be found here.
Phase Four (4) Reopening
- Executive Order 202.45 lays out the parameters of the Phase Four reopening in New York State. Executive Order 202.41, which extended the provisions of Executive Orders 202.3, 202.4, 202.5, 202.6, 202.7, 202.8, 202.10, 202.11, 202.13, 202.14, 202.28, 202.31, 202.34, and 202.35 which each closed or otherwise restricted public or private businesses or places of public accommodation, is continued until and unless later amended or extended by a future Executive Order, provided, however that effective on June 26, 2020, the reductions and restrictions on the in-person workforce at non-essential businesses or other entities shall no longer apply to Phase Four industries, as determined by the Health Department, in eligible regions, including:
- Higher Education;
- Film and Music Production;
- Low-risk indoor arts and entertainment;
- Low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment; and
- Professional Sports without fans.
- Businesses or entities in industries open in Phase Four must be operated in compliance with the guidance promulgated by the Health Department. It should be noted that malls, movie theaters and gyms, which had been previously included as Phase Four industries, remain closed for the time being.
- As of June 26, 2020, the regions meeting the prescribed public health and safety metrics required for Phase Four reopening are: Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, and the North Country. Any additional regions which meet the criteria after such date will be deemed to be incorporated into Executive Order 202.45 without further revision and will be permitted to re-open Phase Four industries, subject to the same terms and conditions.
- Any previous directive that restricted operation of any industry, business, or facility that is permitted to open in Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three, or Phase Four is superseded by Executive Order 202.45, only insofar as it is inconsistent with any Executive Order allowing businesses, industries, and facilities to reopen.
- Regions in Phase Four reopening will also see an increase in the number of persons who are permitted to attend gatherings. Executive Order 202.45 provides that the directive contained in Executive Order 202.35, as extended and as amended by Executive Order 202.38 and Executive Order 202.42, which amended the directive in Executive Order 202.10 that limited all non-essential gatherings, is modified to allow gatherings of fifty (50) or fewer individuals for any lawful purpose or reason, so long as any such gatherings occurring indoors do not exceed 50% of the maximum occupancy for a particular indoor area, and provided that the location of the gathering is in a region that has reached Phase Four of the State’s reopening. These gatherings must also adhere to the social distancing, face covering, and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the Health Department.
Schools Remain Closed
- Executive Order 202.34, which extended the directive contained in Executive Orders 202.28, 202.18, 202.14 and 202.4 as amended by Executive Order 202.11 related to the closure of schools statewide, is hereby continued to provide that all schools shall remain closed to in-person instruction except for the purpose of provision of special education services. School districts must ensure the availability of meals, and child care, with an emphasis on serving children of essential workers. Meals may be provided by an alternative entity, provided that the school district shall be responsible for ensuring that all children have access to free meals. Should the students not have access through an alternative entity, the school district must provide the meals.
Elective Surgeries can Continue
- Executive Order 202.45 amends the directive contained in Executive Order 202.44 regarding elective surgeries to provide that the directive contained in Executive Order 202.10 authorizing the Commissioner of Health to direct all general hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery practices and diagnostic and treatment centers to increase the number of beds available to patients, including by canceling all elective surgeries and procedures, is modified to authorize general hospitals to perform elective surgeries and procedures so long as the established criteria are met currently, whether or not such criteria were met on the dates set forth in such directive, and as modified by the June 14thDepartment of Health guidance.
EXTENSION OF PREVIOUS DIRECTIVES
- Executive Order 202.45 extends any directives, not superseded by a subsequent directive, made by Executive Orders 202.34 and 202.35, for thirty days until July 26, 2020. This extension covers the directive that property owners and building managers are permitted to enforce compliance with the mask directive set out in Executive Order 202.17 and remove persons from their buildings who do not comply with the mask directive.
SUPENDED OR MODIFIED LAWS, REGULATIONS AND CODES
As with all prior executive orders, Executive Order 202.45 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 July 26, 2020. Executive Order 202.45, by modifying or suspending the applicable laws, codes, rules and regulations, to the extent necessary:
- Authorizes the Commissioner of Labor to issue a finding related to experience rating charges as permitted by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and incurred beginning with the benefit week starting March 9, 2020;
- Provides that in addition to any travel to a country for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a level two or three travel health notice, an employee shall not be eligible for paid sick leave benefits or any other paid benefits pursuant to this chapter if such employee voluntarily travels which commences after June 25, 2020 to a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% test positivity rate, over a seven day rolling average, and which the Health Commissioner has designated as meeting these conditions as outlined in the advisory issued pursuant to Executive Order 205, and the travel was not taken as part of the employee’s employment or at the direction of the employee’s employer; and
- Allow the Mayor of Buffalo to waive the additions prescribed therein on unpaid 2019-2020 city taxes for the months of April, May and June of 2020, and to require payments of 2019-2020 city taxes that are made after June 30, 2020 to be made without additions for the months of April, May and June of 2020.
In addition to this suspension and/or modification of laws and regulations, Executive Order 202.45 also extends by twenty-one (21) days the period for paying, without interest or penalty, property taxes that are due in (a) Village of Ossining, Westchester County; and (b) Village of Pomona, Rockland County.