More than six weeks after ordering most employers to reduce or eliminate staff working on-site, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently outlined the state’s plan to relax workplace restrictions in phases by industry and region, after each region meets certain health- and healthcare-related criteria, and after each business modifies operations to reduce transmission risk. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont previously announced their own frameworks for easing restrictions on employers, which also rely on meeting certain health- and healthcare-related criteria.
None of these plans has been formalized in an executive order or authoritative text. Each state must still release concrete details and could modify its plans or delay implementation. In addition, with the exception of Connecticut’s plan to allow certain industries to reopen on May 20, these states have declined to specify dates by which their work-from-home restrictions will be modified or eliminated. As a result, definitive answers to three key questions concerning the resumption of commercial activity—Which employers can resume in-person operations? When can that resumption begin? What must employers do to resume operations?—remain elusive. The states’ respective plans nevertheless do shed light on each state’s expectations concerning workplace restrictions and modified operations going forward.