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Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We'll post regular updates from NPR and regional news from the WRVO newsroom. You can also find updates on our live blog.

CNY manufacturers ready to reopen once NY Pause is lifted

When New York State hits the unpause button, manufacturers will be one of the first businesses to get working again,  and central New York and Mohawk Valley businesses are getting ready.

Many manufacturers have remained operating during the economic pause caused by COVID-19. Randy Wolken, executive director of the Manufacturer's Association of Central New York said their surveys show a majority operating in some capacity.

"80% are actually open in some capacity, and the average is around 75% capacity opened," Wolken said. "But some are opened 25% and some are opened 100%. So this is a monumental step forward."

Wolken said many of these companies have already instituted a variety of protocols to keep workers safe, from adding shifts and spreading workers out to keep density down, to taking temperatures and providing personal protective equipment to workers who need to be closer together.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will ultimately make the restart decision, driven by health data. Some suggest that could come as soon as May 15, at least in parts of the state with lower COVID rates like central New York. Even if that is the date, Wolken doesn't expect all manufacturers to return to pre-pause activity right away.

"They're not going to flip a switch and you're going to go from zero to 100. Over a series of weeks and potentially months, they'll be bringing people back, safely, implementing all the protocols," he said.

Construction is the other industry that's expected to return to work as the state takes initial steps towards restarting the economy.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.