From: Lake George Town and Village Boards Date: 5/9/2020
To our Lake George Residents, Business Owners and summer visitors,
We have been getting many inquiries from the business community, potential visitors and the residents of the Town and Village regarding potential business reopening, recreation and event schedules and tourism guidance. While we are continuing to work with the Lake George COVID-19 Task Force, Warren County officials and the State of New York to understand the regulations that change on a daily basis, as well as the implications those regulations have on our Lake George Community, the Board figured it would be beneficial to develop a summarized memorandum regarding “NY Forward” and the reopening plan as it pertains to Lake George and our busy summer season. Below you will find info directly from NY Forward, frequently asked questions as well as contact information for those you may inquire to.
Essential Businesses operating under the PAUSE Act
Grocery, convenience stores and gas stations are all considered essential. Restaurants and Bars are also essential and may operate, but only for take-out and delivery. For non-essential retail establishments, they may only complete delivery for orders placed remotely via phone or online, provided that only one employee is physically present at the business to fulfill orders; no customers may enter the storefronts.
FAQ: I sell food or drinks at my retail store, am I essential?
A: No. Unless you are a designated food/beverage service establishment with operating Department of Health permits and a restaurant business license, you are not essential even if you have food to sell.
FAQ: I sell “essential products” such as PPE at my retail store, am I essential?
A: No. Unless you are a designated essential business on the ESD list made for Executive Order 202.6, just because you have PPE to sell does not mean you are considered essential.
FAQ: When PAUSE is lifted on May 15, does that mean I can open?
A: No. Business reopening will be determined by region, based on the NY Forward Plan (below).
FAQ: Someone said my business is essential and I’m not sure if they are right, how can I find out?
A: If you cannot determine whether or not you are essential based on the ESD guidance list found in the link above, you can reach out to ESD staff and if you cannot contact them, please contact Dan Barusch.
NY Forward: Reopening Business in Lake George
Governor Cuomo outlined a plan to re-open New York State, it can be found here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/programs/new-york-forward. The plan focuses on getting people back to work and easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread of the virus or overwhelming the hospital system. New York will re-open on a regional basis as each region meets the criteria necessary to protect public health as businesses re-open. Lake George is in the Capital Region. As of May 8th, the Capital Region has only met 4 of the 7 metrics required to reopen as a region. It is important to note, if we do not meet all 7 metrics by the 15th of May, our region will NOT be able to start reopening yet. Once all of our metrics are met as a region, the industry reopening has been divided into four phases, each separated by a minimum of two weeks and regional/state approval to move to the next.
- Manufacturing and wholesale supply chain
- Select retail using curbside pickup only (this applies to any retail in Lake George)
- Professional services, Finance and insurance
- Retail (this means customers will start to be allowed to come inside)
- Administrative support
- Real estate and rental leasing
- Restaurants and food service (this means customers will start to be allowed to eat inside)
- Hotels and accommodations (this means amenities/restaurants/spas/gyms/etc.)
- Arts, entertainment and recreation (this means concerts, large events, sports, attractions)
- Education (no matter what, schools are closed for the rest of the current academic year)
FAQ: Can I open my retail store under Phase 1 once the phases start?
A: You can only open the retail store for curbside pickup only under Phase 1. Retail stores will have to wait until Phase 2 is approved in order to open for the public to enter their storefronts.
FAQ: Once Phase 2 comes, how will we start operating retail to allow customers inside?
A: The specifics on customer capacity and operational restrictions have not been decided yet. We assume it will be a phased approach and only certain customer capacities will be allowed at first.
FAQ: I have a hotel that is essential, aren’t I allowed to operate before Phase 3?
A: Yes, you can be renting rooms ONLY as hotels/accommodations are essential. Phase 3 is opening of “major amenities” of the hotel, including food service, spas, gyms, play areas, beaches and pools.
FAQ: I have a restaurant that is essential, aren’t I allowed to operate before Phase 3?
A: Yes, you can be serving food for take-out and delivery ONLY, until Phase 3 starts, which allows restaurants to start allowing indoor service/seating. Customer capacity/operational restrictions have not been decided yet.
FAQ: What is included under Phase 4 entertainment and recreation?
A: While the list has not been clarified by the State yet, we expect this phase includes attractions, amusements, arcades, playgrounds and contact sports, concerts, festivals, and other large events.
FAQ: What is the timeframe of the phasing? Do you know what date I’ll be able to open?
A: Unfortunately, the timeframe of the phasing for the Capital Region is still unknown. We as a region must meet the seven criteria delineated by the State in order to start opening through Phase 1. Following that ability to open through Phase 1, we assume (until it changes) that each phase will be spaced in two week intervals, subject to the regional and state approvals to move onto the next phase.
FAQ: Once PAUSE is lifted and we start reopening, will people still have to follow safety precautions? A: Yes. Existing provisions within NY on PAUSE and other executive orders will likely still be intact, requiring personal safety precautions and social distancing measures while out in public. It is expected that while out in public, people will still be asked to continue wearing face masks and stay socially distanced to an extent. All businesses will have to accommodate those expectations through plans that will detail their individual or industry-wide business precautions.
FAQ: Someone told me information that is different than what you’ve told me or different than what is in this memo. How do I know which is correct?
A: Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation circling out there these days. In regards to business openings, everyone is trying to make their own determination on the proposal by the State and without more detail it remains relatively unclear to many. For the purposes of consistency, this memo has been developed from the local governments understanding of NY Forward and will be enforced as such.
NY Forward: Business Precautions and Plans
Business Precautions: Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business. Plans should include:
- Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace
- Enact social distancing protocols
- Restrict non-essential travel for employees
- Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others
- Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards
- Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace
- Develop liability processes
Please know that the Town and Village governments are doing everything within our power to provide the assistance and information to our community that is being handed down to us from the State, and in some cases through Warren County. Unfortunately, since we are in uncharted waters, the information, rules and regulations have been changing on a daily basis. We will continue to do our best to keep our community apprised of all of these changes and how they affect Lake George, and we will continue to be here as a resource for all residents, business owners and visitors. Thank you, be well, and stay safe.