Resources and Guidance from New York State
- New York State COVID19 Website: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home
- NYS DOH COVID19 Tracker: https://covid19tracker.health.ny.gov/
- NYS DOH Coronavirus Hotline: 1-888-364-3065
New York State on PAUSE
Governor Cuomo announced the "New York State on PAUSE" executive order, to ensure uniform health and safety. The 10-point plan can be found here: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/new-york-state-pause
On April 9th, Empire State Development (ESD) issued updated guidance pertaining to essential business or entities. The updated guidance is available at: https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026
The latest updates include:
Substantive changes were made to the Construction category (#9). For example, language was added to clarify that municipalities and school districts are allowed to continue construction projects at this time as government entities are exempt from these essential business restrictions. However, to the greatest extent possible, local governments should postpone any non-essential projects and only proceed with essential projects when they can implement appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols.
Language was added to declare golf courses non-essential.
The ESD also added language to clarify that congregate services within houses of worship are prohibited. Houses of worship may only be used by individuals and only where appropriate social distancing of, at least, six feet between people can be maintained. Further, individuals should not gather in houses of worship, homes, or other locations for religious services until the end of this public health emergency. If possible, religious leaders should consider alternative forms of worship, replacing in-person gatherings with virtual services, such as phone or conference calls, videoconference calls, or online streaming.
Essential Businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health (DOH) and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distancing measures to the extent possible.
Updated Guidance on Retail Grocery Stores
New York State has issued updated guidance for retail grocery stores and customers to help protect vulnerable populations during the COVID19 crisis. Among other measures, this guidance includes the following: Retail grocery stores should allow only seniors and people with compromised immune systems to shop between the hours of 6:00 am and 8:00 am, during the first hour when the store opens, or prior to opening the store to the general public.
Guidance on Masks for Essential Businesses
According to Executive Order 202.16: 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. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. This provision may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement as if it were an order pursuant to section 12 or 12-b of the Public Health Law.
State and Local Guidance Regarding Landscapers and Leaf Blowers
Many residents have asked whether landscaping is considered an essential business and if leaf blowing can be banned to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On April 2nd, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets stipulated that: "Landscaping for maintenance and pest control purposes has been designated as essential." Learn more: https://agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus.
The Town reached out to the Governor’s Office for clarification and they responded: “Essential businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distance to the extent possible.”
What this means, practically speaking, is that landscapers should not travel with several employees in a single truck and must maintain a 6 ft. distance between workers.
According to the Westchester County Department of Health, there is no connection between the use of leaf blowers and the spread of COVID-19. The Governor’s Office confirmed this finding.
During our conversation with the Governor’s Office, we inquired whether New York State was taking a position on leaf blower use as it relates to and during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the fact that some reports show that leaf blower usage can have a negative impact on other respiratory illnesses, we were advised that the State does not intend to restrict the use of leaf blowers at this time. We asked them to consider issuing public health guidance on this topic, so that Towns and villages can take a consistent approach.
We have been closely collaborating with the Supervisors of neighboring towns in northern Westchester on a range of issues, and they have taken similar positions.
Bottom line: Whether or not a leaf blower is essential to perform maintenance is not clearly defined by the State, though we continue to push for this clarity. You can be a good neighbor by limiting your use of leaf blowers to reduce harmful particulates and decrease noise pollution while we are all working from home.
Please remember the overall objective: reduce the spread of the virus. This is achieved through limited in-person contact. We must all create an environment that reinforces that only essential work is performed during this time. Thank you for doing your part!