COVID-19 Tri-State Updates

New York

Re-opening Eligibilty

May 15, 2020 Update: 

Businesses in each region will re-open in phases. Re-opening refers to non-essential businesses and business activities. Essential businesses and business activities that are open will remain open.

Eligibility for reopening will be determined by health metrics for each region.

Here is a breakdown of industries in each phase:

Phase One: Starting May 15th Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, and Southern Tier are allowed to reopen 
  • Construction
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting
  • Retail – (Limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off)
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale Trade

Governor Cuomo extended his “PAUSE” order through May 28th for New York City and Long Island, which have met only four of the metrics required to start reopening.

New York State – Regional Councils Map

Stay-at-Home Order

May 6, 2020 Update: 

The current Stay-at-Home Order for NY is set to expire as of 5/15/2020. Governor Cuomo has stated that NY will follow the CDC’s recommendation and not engage in a major reopening within the state until state and regional hospitalization rates see a decline for 14 days.  Further, once the decline is seen, the state will reopen in phases as outlined below:

  • Phase 1 – opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk
  • Phase 2 – opening certain industries based on priority and risk level.  Businesses considered “more essential” with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by remaining businesses considered “less essential” or those that present a higher risk of infection spread.
  • The state intends to leave 2 weeks between each phase in order to monitor the effects of what it has been done

New York to Require Face Coverings in Busy Public Places

April 15, 2020 Update: 

New York residents will be required to wear face coverings when they are out in public and when coming in close contact with other people, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The new outbreak-fighting mandate will require a mask or face covering on busy streets, public transit, or any situation where people cannot maintain 6 feet of social distancing. The promised executive order from Cuomo echoes recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a way to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The order takes effect Friday, April 17th, the governor said either a mask or a cloth covering such as a bandanna will work.

NY Employers Must Provide Specific Unemployment Benefits Notice to Separated and Furloughed Employees

April 15, 2020 Update: 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes a provision that provides emergency funding to the states to assist with the processing and payment of unemployment benefits. A condition of the emergency funding obligates states to require “employers to provide notification of the availability of unemployment compensation to employees at the time of separation from employment.”

New York employers are reminded that they must fill out the top portion of the DOL Record of Employment [this form] and provide a copy to any employee who departs, is terminated, laid off or furloughed.

Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave

April 4, 2020 Update:

New York COVID-19 sick leave is not available to the employee if leave is available under federal law (FFCRA). In other words, the employee receives the benefit of whichever law is more generous to the employee, but not both. Do keep in mind that as the federal law does not apply to employers with 500+ employees in the U.S., New York law will automatically apply to these employers.

March 18, 2020 Update: 

Governor Cuomo signed emergency legislation guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The new law enacts emergency paid sick leave to guarantee workers job protection and provide financial compensation while they are on a mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to the Coronavirus.

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees that had a net income greater than $1 million last year will provide their workers:
    • At least 5 days of paid sick leave and guaranteed job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.
    • After these paid sick days, you are eligible for PFL and DB through your employer’s existing policy. You will receive your salary up to a maximum of $2,884.62 per week for the duration of your mandatory or precautionary quarantine.
  • Employers with 10 or fewer employee and it had a net income greater than $1 million last year will provide their workers:
    • At least 5 days of paid sick leave and guaranteed job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.
    • After these paid sick days, you are eligible for PFL and DB through your employer’s existing policy. You will receive your salary up to a maximum of $2,884.62 per week for the duration of your mandatory or precautionary quarantine.
  • Employers with 11-99 employees will provide their workers:
    • At least 5 days of paid sick leave and guaranteed job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.
    • After these paid sick days, you are eligible for PFL and DB through your employer’s existing policy. You will receive your salary up to a maximum of $2,884.62 per week for the duration of your mandatory or precautionary quarantine.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees will provide their workers:
    • Guaranteed job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.
    • At least 14 days of paid sick leave.
  • If you are a public employer (no matter the number employees) your employees are entitled to:
    • At least 14 days of paid sick leave.

The provisions of the quarantine legislation took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature, ensuring that New York workers are able to take advantage of these benefits now.

More information can be found at: New York State website.

Governor orders all non-essential workers to stay home

March 20, 2020 Update:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered all non-essential workers in the state to remain home and issued guidelines on gatherings and mass transit, due to the number of coronavirus cases continuing to climb. Cuomo said 100% of the non-essential workforce must remain home. That excludes essential services including grocery stores, pharmacies, internet service and others. The governor said all non-essential gatherings of any kind are prohibited, and has urged people to only take mass transit only when necessary. He said mass transit services will continue to operate in order to transport essential workers.

The executive order regarding this important information, including any applicable updates, is available on the New York State website.

New Jersey

“Road Back” Plan

May 15, 2020 Update:

Gov. Phil Murphy issued a stay-at-home order on March 21st that has no specific end date. State parks, golf courses, and county parks reopened May 2nd.

On April 27th, the governor announced a “Road Back” plan, which did not name dates for when other restrictions would be lifted, but instead laid out six principles or metrics that would guide when the easing will happen. They included 14-days of declining new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and expanding the state’s capacity to test for the disease.

Reopening will likely begin in workplaces and venues where the state has a “high degree of confidence” that social distancing and other related norms can be effectively executed, Murphy said then.

On May 6th, Murphy said he was extending a public health emergency declaration for 30 days. This does not alter the state’s stay-at-home order or “Road Back” plan, but rather allows Murphy to use state resources as necessary to combat the spread of coronavirus, he said. “If it signals one thing, it is this: We can’t give up one bit on the one thing we know that is working in this fight — social distancing,” Murphy said.

New Jersey is a part of a coalition with the Northeastern states of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts that said they would aim to coordinate the reopening of the economy.

Public Health Emergency

May 6, 2020 Update:

As of Wednesday, 5/6/20, the public health emergency in New Jersey has been extended another month as announced by Governor Phil Murphy.

Stay-at-Home Order

May 6, 2020 Update:

The current Stay-at-Home Order for NJ does not have an expiration date as of now. Governor Murphy has signed an executive order as of 4/28/20, creating a commission charged with advising the administration on the timing and preparation for the state’s business reopening.

Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave

April 4, 2020 Update:

New Jersey amended its Paid Sick Leave, Family Leave, Family Leave Insurance (FLI), and Temporary Disability Insurance laws, effective April 1, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paid Sick Leave & Family Leave Insurance Benefits

April 4, 2020 Update:
  • Amended to permit employers to provide sick leave when an employee is unable to work because:
    • There is a state of emergency or threat of health to others by the presence of an employee in the community (paid sick leave).
    • The same circumstance as above but determination relates to an employee’s family member in need of care by the employee (paid sick leave & FLI).
    • The employee is caring for a family member who is in isolation or quarantine because of “suspected exposure to a communicable disease” (paid sick leave & FLI).
    • The employee is isolated or quarantined (paid sick leave).
    • The employee’s workplace or child’s daycare or school is closed because of a state of emergency (paid sick leave).

Family Leave Act

April 4, 2020 Update:
  • FMLA is amended to expand the definition of “serious health condition” during a state of emergency.
  • This will apply to employers with 30+ employees.
  • It prohibits an employer from denying family leave to any employee during an epidemic of a communicable disease or a known suspected exposure to such a disease.
    • This will apply to care for a family member who needs to be quarantined; or because the family member’s place of care is closed due to a state of emergency.

Temporary Disability Insurance

April 4, 2020 Update:
  • The law has been modified to waive the seven-day waiting period for benefits during a state of emergency if the disability is for illness caused by an epidemic of a communicable disease, a known or suspected exposure to the disease, or in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Employers with a private disability plan instead of a New Jersey state plan are required to provide these benefits as well.

Connecticut

Re-opening Eligibility

May 15, 2020 Update:

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont extended the mandatory shutdown in the state until May 20th.

Lamont said more testing is needed so the state can reopen by that date and he praised the federal government for loosening regulations on testing ingredients so they can expand testing more quickly.

Beth Bye, the state’s early childhood education commissioner, announced May 5th that Connecticut summer camps can open on June 29th, but must adhere to guidelines, including limiting groups to 10 children.

Lamont and the state’s top education officials said they hope to reopen for summer schools in July.

The state has also ordered tens of thousands of “fever-meters” thermometers, which Lamont says will be “incredibly helpful” when folks go back to work at big manufacturers where temperatures can be taken before entering the buildings.

As of 4/30/20, the governor outlined the industries that officials in the state are looking at for re-opening on May 20th. So far the list includes outdoor-only restaurants (no bar areas), outdoor zoos and outdoor museums, university research programs, hair and nail services, remaining retail that’s currently been deemed as non-essential, and some offices — although individuals should be encouraged to work from home where possible.

Stay-at-Home Order

May 6, 2020 Update:

The current Stay-at-Home Order for CT is set to expire as of 5/20/20. Once this happens certain businesses may be re-opened.  Governor Lamont’s “Reopen Connecticut” Advisory Group has proposed a 4-stage plan allowing businesses to begin returning to normal operations as long as essential criteria are met to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Under the current plan, the following business will be allowed to reopen on 5/20:

  • Outdoor restaurants (no bar areas)
  • Remaining retail
  • Offices (continue to work from home where possible)
  • Personal services (hair and nail only)
  • Museums and zoos (outdoor only)
  • University research programs