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Permissible Activities and Guidance

Dutchess County began Phase Four of the state’s reopening plan on July 7th. The following is a list of other permissible activities in Dutchess County and guidance outlined by New York State and the County. This list will be updated on a regular basis, so if you have questions about a certain activity, check this page often.

For information on industries affected by each Phase, please visit our Reopening Requirements & Phases page.

Added to the guidance as essential health care operation.

Additional Information:


Added to the guidance as essential service  

Additional Information:

Allowed to open statewide May 25th

For more information, read Governor Cuomo's announcement.

Governor Cuomo announced dentists are allowed to reopen statewide June 1st.  

Dentists and dental practices have been added to the list of essential health operations found here:

Low-risk business and recreational activities, including drive-in movie theaters are allowed to open statewide as of May 15th.

Additional Information:

New York State announced on June 11th that garage sales are now permitted, however sales should abide by proper social distancing and include the use of face coverings and hand-sanitizer.

Gyms and fitness centers have been added to the Phase 4 industries for the State's NY Forward re-opening plan.

Gov. Cuomo announced, effective November 13 at 10 p.m., bars, restaurants and gyms, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishment, must close in-person service from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.

To be eligible to open, gyms and fitness centers must:

  1. Review and follow the State's Summary Guidelines
  2. Review and follow the States Detailed Guidelines
  3. Complete and implement a Business Safety Plan (templates are available on the State's website) and maintain on-location for inspection.
  4. Complete and submit the State's Affirmation. This Affirmation will go to New York State. The State will notify Dutchess County within 24 hours of the receipt of the Affirmation. The County will then send an acknowledgement email using the address provided in the Affirmation, and contact the facility to arrange an inspection. The County or its delegates can perform inspection prior to August 24th or up to two weeks after the opening.

Please note, Governor Cuomo has given New York counties the option to opt-out of indoor group fitness and aquatics classes. At this time, Dutchess County will allow indoor group fitness and aquatics classes. However, the County reserves the right to opt-out at any time for any reason, including an outbreak at a gym or fitness center, or locality, or an increase in the County’s infection rate. Furthermore, there will be a zero-tolerance policy as it relates to compliance. If an establishment is found to be out of compliance with regard to indoor group fitness and aquatics classes, the local government will issue a Cease and Desist order, which will prohibit the activities indefinitely. Keep in mind, the Governor can amend his determination at any time.

Additional Information

The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health is encouraging everyone to be safe while celebrating Halloween this year. Residents are reminded to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and wash/disinfect hands often.

View specific safety guidelines for how to safely celebrate Halloween this year (.pdf).

Religious Gatherings & Funerals Guidance

Indoor Services

Religious gatherings at houses of worship are permitted with 33% occupancy, or the limit of the number of people that can fit within the space while maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet at all times, and 12 feet if there is chanting or singing, whichever is the fewer number of people.

Outdoor Services

No more than 50 people are allowed in attendance for services occurring outdoors, statewide.

Masks and Face Coverings

Face coverings must be worn at all times except while seated, provided all individuals are 6 ft. apart except for immediate household members, however individuals should be encouraged to wear them at all times during services or prayers even when seated.

If singing or chanting is involved, then a face covering must be worn even while seated.

Jewish High Holiday Observances

Updated guidance has been issued by the State for Jewish High Holidays. Key points of the guidance include:

  • Gatherings in sukkahs can be considered outdoor religious events limited by the number of people who can fit at least 6 feet apart under the Sukkah roof. Social distance must be mandated during meals in the Sukkah and should be used to determine the number of attendees at congregational meals. Ventilation and outdoor air flow should be maximized to the greatest extent possible.
  • Individuals gathering to hear the shofar must be at least 12 feet away from the shofar blower at all times, and must be 6 feet apart from each other. Shofars should be blown outdoors whenever possible. When it is not possible to be outdoors, place a surgical mask over the wide end of the shofar and set the building ventilation system set to “maximal fresh air without recirculation.” An alternative is to sound the shofar through an open window with the shofar blower inside the building facing out the window. One shofar should not be used by multiple people and shofars should not be passed from person to person to hold.
  • Consider alternatives ways to honor the traditions and intentions of Simchas Torah. Avoid hand holding, strenuous activity such as dancing in large groups in close spaces, passing items from person to person, and handing out treats. Safer practices include socially distanced group walk through building or neighborhood with designated Torah carriers, limited number of participants in socially distanced dancing, and prepackaged treat bags.

Additional Information

Hunting and trapping facilities are permitted to resume outdoor recreation activities with restrictions. Read the re-opening guidance from the State. Look up your business on the State's NY Forward Lookup Tool.

Any group activities (group lessons, camps) remain banned at this time pursuant to Executive Order 202.10, "all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reasons are canceled or postponed."  

However, on May 11th, Governor Cuomo announced, “that certain low-risk business and recreational activities will be ready to reopen statewide on May 15th, including landscaping and gardening; outdoor, low-risk recreational activities such as tennis; and drive-in movie theaters.” 

On May 16th, the guidance was updated as it relates to the recreation category stating, “outdoor, low-risk recreational activities are permitted so long as social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting measures are in place.” Therefore, we believe the other activities such as individual lessons and therapeutic riding programs are low-risk business and recreational activities, and therefore permitted. 

Malls can open in regions that have entered Phase IV of reopening if they have implemented an enhanced Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning - or HVAC - filtration system and follow proper ventilation protocols.

Guidance for malls on (.pdf)

Low-risk business and recreational activities, including landscaping & gardening, allowed to open statewide May 15th.

Additional Information:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that movie theaters outside of New York City can reopen at 25 percent capacity under state guidance starting Friday, October 23. No more than 50 people are allowed in front of each screen in each movie theater at once. Theaters can only open outside of New York City in counties that have COVID-19 positivity rates of less than 2 percent on a 14-day average and do not have any cluster zones. Theaters will be subject to rigorous state guidance and enforcement.

State guidance on the reopening of theaters includes the following conditions:

  • Masks will be required at all times except when seated and eating or drinking. 
  • Assigned seating will be required in all theaters.
  • Social distancing between parties will be required at all times.
  • Additional staffing will be required to control occupancy, traffic and seating to ensure compliance.
  • Enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards must be met by theaters. 

Municipal libraries and library districts are allowed to open, but should maintain social distancing and follow safety guidelines.

Confirmed by Mid-Hudson Regional Control Room, May 19, 2020 meeting

On June 3rd, Governor Cuomo announced outdoor dining at restaurants will be permitted in phase two of reopening.

Outdoor tables must be spaced six feet apart, all staff must wear face coverings and customers must also wear face coverings when not seated.

More information:

When essential to the health & wellness of the animal.

Additional Information:

On June 5, New York State announced in-person special education services will be allowed this summer. Read the Executive Order from the Governor.

Additional Information

The following sports and recreational activities are allowed statewide:

Lower Risk Activities

  • Individual running
  • Batting cages
  • Hunting/shooting/archery
  • Golf
  • Mini-golf
  • Non-motorized boating such as row boats, kayaks, canoes
  • Singles tennis
  • Rock climbing
  • Individual swimming
  • Individual crew
  • Cross country running
  • Horse events and competition
  • Toss/bowl games such as horseshoes, bocce, bean bag toss
  • Flying disc games such as disc golf, frisbee
  • Rope courses
  • Other sports and recreation activities with similar abilities to maintain physical distance and/or limit exposure to shared equipment prior to such equipment being cleaned and disinfected.

Moderate Risk Activities

  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Doubles tennis
  • Racket games such as badminton, racquetball
  • Water polo
  • Gymnastics
  • Field hockey
  • Non-contact lacrosse
  • Falg football
  • Swimming relays
  • Soccer
  • Crew with two or more rowers in shell
  • Rafting
  • BMX bike racing
  • Paintball
  • Other spors and recreation activities with similar abilities to maintain physical distance and/or limit exposure to shared equipment prior to such equipment being cleaned and disinfected.

Higher Risk Activities

Effective February 1, 2021, participants in higher risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training and, further, may partake in other types of play, including competitions and tournaments, only as permitted by the respective local health authorities (i.e., county health departments). Read the guidance from New York State Dept. of Health.

Local health authorities should consider the following factors in authorizing or continuing to prohibit higher risk sports and recreational activities as, in many areas, these factors may weigh against permitting such activities:

  • whether there has been a more-transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area,
  • local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity, and 
  • local ability to monitor and enforce compliance.

Activities include:

  • Football
  • Wrestling
  • Ice hockey
  • Rugby
  • Basketball
  • Contact lacrosse
  • Volleyball
  • Marital arts
  • Competitive cheer and group dance
  • Other sports and recreation activities with similar abilities to maintain physical distance and/or limit exposure to shared equipment prior to such equipment being cleaned and disinfected.

Travel for Practice or Play

For all lower, moderate and higher risk sports, travel for practice or play is prohibited outside of the region or contiguous counties/regions. Interstate travel for practice or play is strongly discouraged and, if undertaken, must strictly adhere to the requirements of the State's travel advisory.

  • Travel for practice or play to, or from, any area within New York that has been designated as a red or orange zone may only be permitted following consultation with the respective state or local health authorities with consideration of the abovementioned factors. Travel for practice or play to, or from, any area within New York that has been designated as a yellow zone is permitted so long as it adheres to all applicable DOH guidance.

Bowling Centers and Alleys

Responsible parties must follow these additional public health and safety measures:

  • Restrict facility capacity to no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy, inclusive of employees and patrons/players;
  • Require face coverings at all times for patrons/players;
  • Strictly enforce social distancing of at least six feet between parties of patrons/players, including during play by closing adjacent bowling lanes or enacting appropriate physical barriers between lanes;
  • Ensure patrons/players interact only with their party at their assigned lane (i.e., no comingling of parties);
  • Rigorously clean and disinfect any rented or shared equipment (e.g., bowling balls, bowling shoes) between each patron’s/player’s or party’s use;
  • Limit the number of patrons/players to any event at the facility to no more than the current social gathering restrictions that are in effect for the region as a part of the State’s phased reopening (i.e., 50 or fewer people in Phase 4 regions, as of August 15, 2020); and
  • Adhere to DOH’s Interim Guidance for Food Services and all other applicable state-issued guidance (e.g., State Liquor Authority) for food and beverage service on the premise of the facility.

Further, responsible parties of bowling centers and alleys may consider these additional public health and safety measures:

  • Encourage patron/player visits be made in advance by reservation only, where practicable;
  • Consider measures to reduce interpersonal contact and congregation, such as: 
    • “blocking off” operating times to allow for enhanced cleaning and disinfection;
    • implementing “sign-up” policies, so patrons/players only play during their allotted time; and/or
    • offering “equipment valets” where employees retrieve equipment for patrons/players (e.g., employees retrieve bowling balls from rack for use); 
  • Post signage and issue audio reminders for patrons/players to clean and disinfect equipment before and after use;
  • Impose reasonable limits on rentals of facility owned equipment (e.g., a single individual may only use one bowling ball for the duration of the patron’s/player’s play); and/or 
  • Encourage patrons/players to bring and use their own equipment (e.g., bowling balls).

Golf Courses & Driving Ranges

Responsible parties should ensure players adhere to the following additional safety measures:

  • Limit tee times to four players, except for members of the same household;
  • Restrict use of golf carts to single riders or members of the same family/household only, unless a physical barrier that does not impede visibility or operation of the cart is in place. Cleaning and disinfection are required between each party’s use;
  • Keep golf bag in possession, when possible;
  • Consider using remote check-in, with advance tee time reservations (by Internet or telephone);

Additional Information:

Summer day camps statewide can open on June 29. Read the Governor’s announcement.

The State Dept. of Health will not be permitting sleep-away camps this summer. Read the statement from New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker on Overnight Summer Camps.


Allowed to open in all regions beginning Tuesday, May 26th.

For more information, read Governor Cuomo's announcement.