EXCLUSIVE: Mid-Hudson, New York City Regions Suffer Setbacks in Reopening—Updated

John Jordan | May 2020

GOSHEN—Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus revealed in his daily COVID-19 Update on Saturday that the governor’s office notified counties in the Mid-Hudson region that the region had not met one of the key metrics for reopening and that the state is “restarting the clock,” which could mean a delay in the region’s economy’s opening by as much as two weeks or more.

Neuhaus told viewers that he could not provide any further details because he had not had a formal meeting with other Mid-Hudson County Executives and the governor’s office and would provide updates to county residents today.

Reports had surfaced that the Mid-Hudson region may be qualified for phase one of the reopening sometime this week, but now that timeline appears in possible jeopardy.

“We were anticipating opening at the end of next week or somewhere around that area,” Neuhaus said on Saturday. “Now that clock has started again.”

He added, “That’s where we are right now,” Neuhaus said. “I don’t know what that timeline will be. Is it going to be the 12 to 14-day (period) now to start the clock?”

On Monday, May 18, New York State’s dashboard tracking regional compliance with seven required metrics for reopening reports that the Mid-Hudson now only qualifies for four out of the seven metrics, down from five out of seven the day before. In addition, New York City now only qualifies for three out of the seven metrics, down from four the day before.

Real Estate In-Depth is awaiting clarification from New York State on whether the openings in the Mid-Hudson and New York City are delayed due to the compliance downgrades.

Neuhaus also noted that once the phased restart begins, it had been assumed that a region could advance to a later phase within a 14-day period, however, he stated that the governor’s office has the discretion to impose a shorter or longer time span for advancement if it chooses based on the data.

The governor recently announced that once a region reaches a milestone for reopening, the designation could be granted immediately and would not have to wait for the conclusion of the 14-day review period.

The state’s Regional COVID-19 dashboard now has the Mid-Hudson region complying with four of the seven metrics necessary to qualify for reopening. The dashboard has the Mid-Hudson not qualifying for the 14-day decline in hospital deaths or fewer than five deaths (3-day average) metric and new hospitalizations (under 2 per 100,000 residents) 3-day rolling average requirement. The region also has yet to meet requirements regarding contact tracers, although it is expected to do so.

UPDATE: Westchester County Executive George Latimer in his COVID Update today said he was not aware why the Mid-Hudson region had fallen from complying with  five metrics down to four metrics as of today. He said Mid-Hudson county executives were scheduled to discuss the matter with state officials at a 3 p.m. conference call today.

Orange County Executive Neuhaus told Real Estate In-Depth that state officials in today’s conference call did not discuss whether the slip from five metrics to four would cause any tangible delay in reopening the Mid-Hudson economy. He said that Orange County and other counties may have gotten a “Mother’s Day bump” in hospitalizations, etc. due to the nice weather and holiday. However, he said that he is confident that in a few days the region will make inroads, including in hiring contact tracers, and is confident the region will be eligible for reopening as early as this Friday or sometime next week. 

Thus far, five regions have been approved to begin phase one of their respective economies’ reopening—North Country, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier.

On Sunday, the governor announced that the Capital District and Western New York regions had achieved all seven metrics for reopening, but still must iron out tracing issues before phase one of the reopening can be instituted there. He said he would be meeting with officials with both regions and characterized the tracing matter as a simple administrative issue.

In addition to the Mid-Hudson, the following areas have not reached all necessary metrics for reopening Long Island (5 of 7), New York City (3 of 7) and Western New York (6 of 7). On Monday, the governor announced that Western New York would begin phase one of the reopening on Tuesday.

Real Estate In-Depth has reached out to the governor’s office and other stakeholders to provide further information on this breaking story. Please go to RealEstateInDepth.com for updates.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth