COVID-19: What you need to know for your business

Updated August 25, 2020

Attention Rockland County Business Owners!
Get Your R.O.A.R.R.S. Business Certficate!

Recently, Rockland County announced a new initiative under the Rockland On A Road to Recovery and Stimulus (R.O.A.R.R.S.) program that offers “Certificates of Affirmation” to all businesses who have complied with the guidelines under the New York Forward Guidelines for Reopening.

To receive your certificate, please visit and complete the affirmation guidelines.  Once submitted, you will receive an email from the Rockland County Department of Economic Development & Tourism which will include your certificate.

By proudly displaying your certificate, you will help to promote the County by letting the public know that Rockland is safe and reopened for business.

For more information, please contact the Rockland County Department of Economic Development and Tourism office at
(845) 364-2170 or visit

“Make It in Rockland, Right Here. Right Now.”

Updated July 07, 2020
Rockland Enters “Modified 4”
  • Announces Mid-Hudson Region to Enter Phase IV of Reopening Tomorrow; Long Island on Track to Enter Phase IV of Reopening Wednesday
  • Announces DOH Finalizing Guidance on Possible School Reopening in September
  • Announces Casinos and Movie Theaters to Remain Closed as Government Reviews the Facts
  • Cancels New York State Fair This Summer Out of An Abundance of Caution
  • Announces New York State to Make Industry Recommendations on Air Conditioning Systems
  • Calls on President Trump to Acknowledge That COVID-19 Exists and is a Problem
  • 0.95 Percent of Yesterday’s COVID-19 Tests were Positive
  • 9 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday
  • Confirms 518 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State – Bringing Statewide Total to 397,649; New Cases in 45 Counties
  • The Mid-Hudson region will enter Phase 4 on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020.
  • Phase 4 includes guidelines for:
 i.         higher education institutions
ii.        low-risk outdoor arts & entertainment , which includes outdoor zoos, botanical gardens, nature parks, grounds of historic sites and cultural institutions, outdoor museums, outdoor agri-tourism, local agricultural demonstrations and exhibitions; and other similar institutions/activities
iii.        low-risk indoor arts & entertainment , which includes indoor museums, historical sites, aquariums, and other related institutions
iv.        media production
 v.        professional sports competitions with no fans
  • Regions in phase 4 will be permitted to hold social gatherings of up to 50 people.
  • If you are an employer included in phase 4, you must take the following steps:
i.        Go to the  New York Forward website .
ii.        Click on “Phase Three Guidance.”
iii.        Select your industry by scrolling down on the left side navigation bar.
iv.        Click on and read “View Summary Guidelines” for your industry.
v.        Click on and read “Read and Affirm the Detailed Guidelines” for your industry, and then click the link at the bottom of the page ( or   here ) to complete the form and hit submit.
vi.        Click on “Print Business Safety Plan Template” for your industry, and then print and fill out the template, and keep on file at your place of business.
vii.        Implement the Safety Plan.
Please continue to monitor the  New York Forward website  for more details on phase 4 and updates on the reopening of the state.
For help determining whether or not your business is eligible to reopen, use the reopen lookup tool .
Updated June 23, 2020
Mid-Hudson Region Enters Phase 3

Governor Cuomo has announced that the Mid-Hudson region has been cleared to enter phase 3 of reopening tomorrow – Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020.

You can find guidelines for businesses reopening in Phase 3.

Also note that gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed in Phase 3.

Updated June 9, 2020
Guidelines for food service establishments for restaurant operatorsAs the Mid-Hudson region enters Phase 2 of the re-opening, restaurants will be allowed to offer outdoor seating to customers. The New York State guidance describes the safety measures that must be in place. The last page of the guidance has a link where you, the operator, affirm that you have read and understand your obligation to operate your facility in a safe manner in accordance with the guidance.
In addition, each facility must conspicuously post a completed safety plan on site. New York State has made available a business reopening safety plan template to guide business owners and operators in developing plans to protect against the spread of COVID-19. This template is available here.
If your facility has an approved outdoor seating area, you may use that area.
If you’re planning to put seats & tables in a different area (parking lot, sidewalks, grass lawn, etc.), you must first get approval from your local town/village Building Department.
If outdoor seating will be shared by more than one business or provided by a third party, we recommend that all responsible parties prepare and follow coordinated safety plans so lapses in requirements can be avoided.
If your facility is licensed by the New York State Liquor Authority, the following guidance will apply to your facility as well.
If you have any questions, please contact Jeanne Longo at 845-364-2601.
In response to reopening, Rockland County will also be offering “Certificates of Affirmation” to businesses which may be displayed in their windows, to show they have complied with the guidelines for reopening under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s New York Forward Reopening Program. 
Updated June 4, 2020
State Liquor Authority (SLA) Guidance on Outdoor Expansion of Licensed Premises

As you likely saw/heard yesterday – once the Mid-Hudson enters phase 2 of reopening, food establishments will be able to provide outdoor service. The guidelines for that can be found here.

In light of this, the State Liquor Authority (SLA) has issued guidance on a streamlined process for the expansion of licensed premises for service of alcoholic beverages. That guidance can be found here.

Updated May 29, 2020
Guidance for phase 2 of reopening has been posted. You can access it via the New York Forward website.
Updated May 22, 2020
Today Governor Cuomo announced the New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF), a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE.
NYFLF targets the state’s small businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (90% of all businesses), nonprofits and small landlords that have seen a loss of rental income.
More information can be found here:
Updated May 18, 2020

UPDATE: ESD’s Guidance on Essential Businesses was updated on May 16th, at 1:02 pm. You can find the updated guidance here.

Some of the updates include:

  1. Acupuncture, prescribed by a medical professional is now considered essential (section 1).
  2. Pet grooming but only to the extent necessary to ensure animal health is now considered essential (section 5).
  3. Landscaping, gardening, and horticulture are now considered essential without the previous caveats (section 5).
  4. Outdoor, low-risk recreational activities are permitted so long as social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting measures are in place, including: tennis, non-motorized boat use and rentals, and golf and driving ranges (except miniature golf), with food and retail services subject to the restrictions that are currently in effect within the region (section 13).
  5. Drive-in movie theaters are considered essential, so long as social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting measures are in place (section 13)
  6. Please review the updated guidance in detail on ESD’s website.
  1. ESD has just published an online tool to help businesses determine whether or not they are eligible to reopen, and the public health and safety standards with which they must comply.
  2. To use the tool, start by selecting your county, and then your industry / NAICS Code.
  3. If a business is unsure of its NAICS code, the US Census website has a keyword search available on this page.
  4. This online tool will be updated regularly as guidance is updated.
Planning Ahead for Reopening
  1. While the Mid-Hudson region has NOT yet met the criteria to begin phase 1 of reopening (see here,) all businesses, including essential businesses, must develop a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan. A template for a plan may be found here. Please note: This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval but must be retained on the premises of the business and must be made available to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection.
  2. Once the Mid-Hudson region does meet the criteria to begin reopening, the region will begin by reopening some industries as part of Phase 1, specifically: Construction; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting; Retail – (Limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off); Manufacturing; and Wholesale Trade.
  3. Reopening Guidance for these industries is now available on the New York Forward website
    • Both essential and non-essential businesses in these industries must review the reopening guidance and review and submit an affirmation document. These documents and guidance on submission of the affirmation document can all be found on this page.

Updated May 12, 2020
Re-opening Update
New York Forward is Governor Cuomo’s plan to reopen New York State. New York will reopen on a regional basis as each region meets the criteria necessary to protect public health as businesses reopen. New York State remains on PAUSE through May 15.
At present, three NYS regions have met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state’s phased reopening plan when NYS on PAUSE expires: Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley.
View the Regional Monitoring Dashboard showing how each region of NYS is doing with regard to Governor Cuomo’s established metrics that have been established based on guidance from the CDC, WHO, U.S. Dept. of State and other public health experts.
For more information, please click here for the NY Forward Book.
View the updated ESD’s Guidance on Essential Businesses – updated on May 10th, at 9:13 am.

Updated: May 11, 2020

NY Forward: A Guide to Reopening New York & Building Back Better

Today the Governor’s Office has published “NY Forward: A Guide to Reopening New York & Building Back Better.” The guide details the State’s plans to reopen the economy.
The State will direct the reopening of businesses based on a matrix of greatest need and safety. Businesses are also expected to demonstrate to the State that they have a plan to reopen safely that addresses employees, physical settings, and processes.

A Re-opening Template
The following was prepared by Business Council of NYS staff based on input from national and regional business organizations, individual member companies and individual safety and health experts, and in consideration of federal and state standards and guidance.  It is intended to provide a template that can be used by businesses as they prepare for a facility reopening, but have not yet developed their own COVID-19 protocol.  As written, we believe it could apply to any business setting that does not have a significant volume of customer/public interaction. The RBA has been a proud member of the Business Council for over a quarter-century.
    • Identify Executive/Administrative team responsible for adopting and implementing the reopening plan.
    • Prepare to maintain a copy of the reopening/operation plan, and documentation of key activities.
    • Employer shall continuously monitor federal and state regulations and guidelines, and state and local COVID-19 case data, in order to inform and update operation and safety practices.
    • Confirm that the location has or has access to an adequate supply of soap, disinfectants, hand sanitizer, paper towels and tissues; face coverings and related equipment, with a target of 30 days’ supply.


    • Employees who are not feeling well are expected to remain away from the workplace and contact their supervisor or HR department.
    • Employees who consider themselves vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus (or share a household with someone considered vulnerable) due to age or underlying health condition should notify their supervisor prior to returning to the office. Human resources will engage in a constructive dialogue to determine what accommodation, if any, is available.
    • By reporting to the office, employees will have attested that they do not present with recognized symptoms of COVID-19.  These symptoms include a fever in excess of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing and/or shortness of breath.   Employees exhibiting such symptoms will be required to leave the work site.  Also, an assessment and record of any incidental or close contact with other employees will be completed.
    • Employers should create a single (or limited number) of entry points to the facility and maintain a daily attendance log of all workers and guests.  Staggered shifts may be necessary to reduce density at entrances and exits and maintain social distancing.
    • The employer may require written self-certification by employees of the absence of COVID-19 symptoms, or temperature screening.
    • Employees are required to adhere to any public health-related quarantine or isolation requirement.
    • Employees should notify their supervisor if they have tested positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to a person who is known to have tested positive.  Supervisors should relay such notices to human resources.  The employer will also provide notice to co-workers and public health officials as required.  In addition, the employer will conduct cleaning, sanitizing, etc. as required by public health guidance.  In providing notice to coworkers of possible contact with employee having laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19, the employer shall maintain confidentiality and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • If an employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately. Surfaces in their workplace should be cleaned and disinfected.
    • When possible, employers should notify employees planning non-work travel outside of the country or a domestic COVID-19 hotspot that isolation may be required prior to return to work.
    • Supervisor/manager training on the employer’s COVID-19 response plan will be provided in advance of any facility reopening.
    • Employees will receive training and written guidance on COVID-19 related workplace practices, in addition to any other training required by law, and provided a workplace contact for addressing questions and concerns, and will receive periodic communications by email, recorded message or workplace postings to reinforce these provisions and be encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback.


    • Workplace will be cleaned and sanitized prior to any facility reopening and on a routine basis by employees or external cleaning service provider, using appropriate PPEs.
    • Employer shall assure daily cleaning and sanitizing of all shared surfaces throughout the facility.  This includes common spaces like bathrooms, conference rooms, lunchrooms, and high-contact surfaces (e.g., doorknobs and handrails), etc.  Records documenting cleaning activity should be maintained.
    • Employees will be provided with cleaners and sanitizers and associated PPE and are expected to maintain their work area periodically and whenever necessary due to use or conditions.   All wastes including cleaning material should be disposed of in waste receptacles lined with disposable bags.
    • Signage will remind employees of personal hygiene including hand washing, cough/sneeze etiquette, social distancing, use of PPEs, cleaning standards, etc.
    • Workstations will be arranged to provide social distancing of 6 feet or physical partitions wherever possible.
    • Face coverings will be provided, and employees are expected to wear them as directed by their supervisor consistent with state and federal guidelines.  Face coverings are required in circumstances where social distancing cannot be consistently maintained.  Employees who may have underlying health conditions that prohibit the use of face coverings should contact their supervisor or Human Resources.  Employer will monitor personal masks brought in by employees to ensure they can be used safely and not trigger additional OSHA requirements. The employer may require use of company-provided face protection, as appropriate. No masks rated N95 or higher to may be used without Supervisor approval.


    • Employees may be required to work from home for an extended period, including after an allowable “reopening”.  Work at home practices may be lifted incrementally.  Supervisors should identify those best positioned to continue to work from home.
    • Signs will be posted, and markers laid on the floor to help employees maintain the suggested six-foot distancing between employees.  Employees are expected to comply with those signs/markers.
    • Access to break rooms will be limited to no more than a designated number of employees at any one time, targeting 50% or less of the rated occupancy.
    • Employees should not congregate at other indoors or outdoors workplace locations, including entrances, exists, timeclocks, elevators, etc..  To extent necessary, employer should adopt a staggered work schedule to avoid crowds at entrances and exits.
    • Employer will provide disposable plates, cups, etc. to discourage re-use of personal items.
    • Microwaves, water cooler, coffee machines, refrigerators, vending machines and similar equipment must have surfaces cleaned and disinfected daily. Gatherings in conference/meeting rooms should be generally avoided, must be approved in advance by a supervisor, will be limited to no more than 50% of room of rated occupancy, and social distancing will be required.  Signs will be posted indicating maximum occupancy.
    • Employees should keep to their assigned work cell location, when possible, and avoid using other employees space or equipment.  Employees who commonly travel between departments or facilities as an essential function of their job should receive COVID-19 training specific to that role.
    • Employees should use phone/email/virtual meetings instead of in-person meetings, even when at office, to the maximum extent possible.
    • No non-essential work travel will be approved.  The essential nature of travel will be determined using company guidelines.
    • Employees that utilize company vehicles are not to share their vehicles with other employees.  If such sharing is unavoidable, employees shall wear face coverings while in the vehicle.  Employees using a shared work vehicle should clean and sanitize services after use.
    • Material handling equipment such as fork trucks and pallet jacks will be disinfected daily.
    • Management shall audit new and established business practices for the purpose of continuous improvement.


    • In general, non-employees will be prohibited from entering the workplace unless authorized by the site owner, manager or designated individual.
    • Any non-employees episodically entering the workplace will be required to wear company-approved face coverings suitable for the type of work being conducted and work environment.  This is consistent with Executive Order 202.16 which said, “For all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public.”
    • Non-employees with longer term presence in the workplace, including contractors and temporary workers, will be treated as employees under the company’s COVID-19 plan, unless otherwise addressed in a written agreement with those workers’ employer.
    • Shipping receiving is limited to designated locations. Exterior signage is required to direct deliveries, visitors, etc.
    • A written record of visitors to the site shall be maintained.  Site-specific policies relative to COVID-19 should be communicated to visitors in advance or upon arrival.The employer shall adopt procedures for shipping/receiving materials.  For material received on site that has been in transit and/or storage at the plant for more than 48 hours from last human contact, no specific precautions are required.


Re-opening The Economy

“Yesterday, a lot was written about re-opening the economy. Unfortunately, not everything I read online or saw on TV was accurate. Too much of it was interpretive.
The information presented below was sent to me last night by Empire State Development. It was a distribution for members of the Regional Council, but with a note that we could share it. We are sending it to you this morning so that you have the information you need without editorialized nuance or bias.” — Al Samuels
Updated: Monday, May 4, 2020

State Will Monitor Four Core Factors to Determine if a Region Can Re-Open: Number of New Infections, Health Care Capacity, Diagnostic Testing Capacity and Contact Tracing Capacity

  • State Will Monitor Four Core Factors to Determine if a Region Can Re-Open: Number of New Infections, Health Care Capacity, Diagnostic Testing Capacity and Contact Tracing Capacity
  • Outlines New Safety Precautions Each Business Must Put in Place Upon Re-Opening
  • More Than One Million New Yorkers Have Been Tested for COVID-19 to Date
  • New York’s National Guard Has Made Nearly 300,000 Testing Kits to Collect Samples
  • Announces Special Enrollment through the Marketplace will Remain Open Through June 15, 2020
  • Confirms 2,538 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State – Bringing Statewide Total to 318,953; New Cases in 45 Counties

Governor Cuomo, Governor Murphy, Governor Lamont, Governor Wolf, Governor Carney, Governor Raimondo & Governor Baker Announce Joint Multi-State Agreement to Develop Regional Supply Chain for PPE and Medical Equipment

  • States Will Aggregate Demand for PPE, Medical Equipment and Testing on a Regional Basis
  • Regional Supply Chains Will Help Realize Better Pricing, Delivery and Reliability of PPE and Medical Equipment for States

Governor Cuomo Announces Results of Completed Antibody Testing Study of 15,000 People Showing 12.3 Percent of Population Has COVID-19 Antibodies

  • State Will Distribute Over 7 Million More Cloth Masks to Vulnerable New Yorkers and Frontline Workers Across the State
  • State is Distributing $25 Million to Food Banks Across the State Through the Nourish New York Initiative
  • Confirms 4,663 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State – Bringing Statewide Total to 312,977; New Cases in 44 Counties
Key COVID-19 Resources
Stay home. Stop the spread. Save lives.