ALBANY — Fifty percent of the jobs in the Capital Region won’t be coming back until Phase II of the governor’s plan to reopen, and that is only if certain parameters are met.
County Executive Dan McCoy, during his daily briefing on Saturday, said ideally he and seven other counties considered the Capital Region — Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Washington, Warren, Columbia and Green — will submit a plan to reopen before May 15, when Phase I is set to kick in.
But, McCoy said, his office is having a difficult time getting in touch with anyone from Washington and Green counties.
“We have to submit this as a region so we have to all be on the same sheet of music,” he said. “It may not be perfect, we might miss some things, but we will be able to adjust it.”
According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Phase I will include construction and manufacturing and some retail provided it offers curbside pickup of merchandise.
Phase II, if the numbers hold and the spread of COVID-19 continues to hold steady or decline, will include retail, finance, real estate and technical services and professional services, McCoy said. The earliest Phase II could happen is June 1, under the governor’s current plan.
Phase III, tentatively set for two weeks after Phase II, would include restaurants, bars and hotels with arts and entertainment and sports following in Phase IV.
The individual businesses will have to submit a plan to ensure the safety of workers and customers. That may include checking temperatures as employees enter, reworking the office to maintain social distancing protocols, a sanitization plan and/or requiring to customers to wear masks.
“Businesses want to do the right thing for their employees and their customers by re-opening in a safe way but they want to open and stay open not have to close down again,” said Kevin O’Connor, director of the county Department of Economic Development. “Some industries, including hospitality and some of the so-called ‘nonessential’ retail, have been hit very hard. We’ve gotten good feedback from them and I think we’re in good shape as we prepare our re-opening plan for submission.”
Meanwhile, from Friday to Saturday, the 59th county resident died from COVID-19. A man in his 80s with multiple underlying health issues who was living at Shaker Place, the county run nursing home, was transferred to the Veterans Administration Hospital where he died.
It is the ninth Shaker Place resident who died from COVID-19. As of Saturday, there were 50 residents of Shaker Place who tested positive with two who have recovered. There are 18 employees who have tested positive and who are still out of work while nine who tested positive have recovered and are back to work.
All but two of the 59 county residents were older than 60 and all but one had underlying health issues.
As of Saturday, there were 1,336 positive cases in Albany County, up 27 from Friday. There are 966 under mandatory quarantine and 15 under precautionary quarantine.
There have been 3,083 residents who completed quarantine, up 104 from Friday, with 799 people who tested positive and have recovered from the virus.
Statewide, Saturday saw the lowest number of new cases, 522, since March 20 to March 21, Cuomo said.
The number of hospitalizations, the three-day average of hospitalizations and the number of people on a ventilator all continue to decline. But, there were 226 fatalities across the state — 173 who were in hospitals and 53 in nursing homes — bringing the total to 21,270 with the vast majority being from New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.