Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged an end to violence after George Floyd’s death during a news conference at the Capitol on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

New York State Team

ALBANY – Dentist offices across New York were able to open Monday fully for the first time since late March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of Phase 2, five upstate regions of the state were able Friday to let dentistry services resume.

On Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York dentists can reopen statewide Monday.

Dentists’ offices will be subject to state guidance on best practices for safety and social distancing, which is expected to be forthcoming from the state Department of Health.

“We have gone through hell and back — we are on the other side and it’s a lesson for all of us, and we need to stay vigilant as we reopen different parts of the state so that we don’t backslide,” Cuomo said in a statement Monday.

“I am also authorizing dentists to resume their practices statewide starting tomorrow as long as they follow health and safety guidelines that the state is laying out and that we have been discussing with them.”

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Dentists had been allowed to operate on an emergency basis, but with a variety of safety steps, such as face coverings for patients and staff, social distancing in common areas and limited number of people in the office.

Dentist services in New York were set to resume Monday in New York. (Photo: Getty Images)

The New York State Dental Association said it was pleased with the reopening announcement and said it would continue to follow state and federal safety guidelines.

“We are grateful that NYSDA’s advocacy efforts made a direct impact on the Governor’s decision to fully reopen your practices while achieving safety goals supported by both NYSDA and the New York Department of Health,” the group said on its website.

Five regions — the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, North Country and Central New York — entered Phase 2 on Friday, which included professional services, such as dentistry.

Long Island and the Hudson Valley is in Phase 1, while New York City has yet to reopen past essential businesses.

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Joseph Spector is the New York state editor for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany

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