5.4 COVID-19 Bulletin: NYS Reopening Plans & New Testing Locations

NYS Reopening Plans & New Testing Locations

UPDATE: Governor Cuomo Adds More Detail to Regional Reopening Plan

A region would need to meet certain criteria related to testing, hospitalization and healthcare capacity to be eligible for a phased reopening beginning May 15.  The reopening would be based on the following industry schedule:

  • Phase 1: Construction, manufacturing, select retail with curbside pickup
  • Phase 2: Professional services, retail, real estate, finance
  • Phase 3: Restaurants and hotels
  • Phase 4: Arts, education, recreation


As of today, Western New York is not eligible because we do not meet the following criteria:

  • A 14-day decline in hospitalizations OR under 15 new hospitalizations (on a 3-day average)
  • New hospitalizations must be under 2 per 100,000 residents on a 3-day rolling average
  • 30 per 1,000 residents tested monthly (based on a 7-day average of new tests per day)
  • At least 30 contract tracers per 100,000 residents


Western New York does meet the following three criteria:

  • 14-day decline in hospital deaths OR fewer than 5 deaths (on a three-day rolling average)
  • Share of total hospital beds available must be at least at 30%
  • Share of total intensive care unit beds must be at least 30%

To see where Western New York measures up to other regions around the state, click HERE.

New York State will set up a ‘control room’ in each region for state and local elected officials, as well as public health officials to monitor reopening criteria.

UPDATE: NYS Offering Free COVID-19 Testing to Qualified Individuals

NYS is offering free Covid-19 testing in two locations:

  • The Sabres Parking Lot at 125 Perry Street in Buffalo
  • Niagara Community College in Sanborn

The testing is a nasal swab test for active infection.  The tests are free and conducted seven days a week, but all those wishing to be tested must make a reservation by calling 1-888-364-3065.

Testing is open to the following NYS residents:

  • Persons who have been exposed to the virus
  • Persons who are symptomatic
  • First responders, and health care workers, essential workers including bank tellers, childcare workers, delivery workers, human service providers, food service workers, hotel/motel workers, security guards, utility workers, etc. A complete list of essential workers can be found on the attached flyer

Additional Details:

All persons who are tested at these sites must arrive by car (large vans are not permitted) with the windows up and remain in the vehicle until instructed to lower their window to allow the nasal swab to be inserted into their nostril.

The test sample collection takes approximately 30 minutes but will vary. Results are provided directly to the tested individual by the Department of Health within days.

WATCH: 5/1 Webisode on NYS Program That Helps Employers Retain Employees During a Slowdown

Did you know that through the NYS Share Work Program, employees can receive partial unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours?

Watch our webisode and learn more about the often-overlooked initiative which helps NYS employers avoid some of the problems caused by a layoff by keeping your employees during a temporary slowdown.

REGISTER: Upcoming Virtual Events

5/6: WNY COVID-19 Business Impact Survey Results
Approximately 1,600 employers weighed in on a variety of topics like lost revenue, workforce impacts and their ability to operate remotely.

The information gathered from the survey will be essential to better understanding how the public and private sectors can work together to address potential gaps in available resources now and during the inevitable economic recovery period that lies ahead. Learn what employers had to say and register today.

DETAILS: Wednesday, May 6 | 1:00pm | REGISTER HERE

5/7: Congressman Brian Higgins on the Federal Response to COVID-19 
Congressman Higgins will discuss the federal CARES Act which is providing direct aid and loan programs to help stabilize the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19 and outline what he wants to see the federal government do next to help rebuild the American economy as the country turns to recovery. This is a members only event – space is limited, register today.

DETAILS: Thursday, May 7 | 11:00am | REGISTER HERE

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is committed to providing employers with the latest information and resources to help you deal with COVID-19 and its impact on our community, state and nation.  You can also visit our resource page – it is being regularly updated to provide you the most up-to-date information.

Please feel free to reach out to us with questions at and even more importantly, if you are willing to share best practices.

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