All non-essential gatherings are still banned in New York State, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says "there was never a law on social interactions."

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On Friday, five regions, Central New York, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier, started Phase 1 of the reopening process. Cuomo laid out seven metrics, based on CDC recommendations, regions must meet to reopen, including hospital capacity, daily deaths and new infections.

Under his plan, a region could start Phase 1 of the reopening process on May 15 if all seven metrics are hit. Phase 1 includes the reopening of construction, manufacturing, retail with curbside pickup, wholesale trade, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.

Cuomo's plan will reopen businesses in four phases. However, his new guidance doesn't give out details about social gatherings. Hudson Valley Post reached out to the governor's office over a week ago for comment but never heard back.

On Friday, Cuomo was asked by a reporter during his COVID-19 briefing about when New Yorkers can have personal interactions.

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"There was never a law on social interactions, right?" Cuomo said. "I have not seen my mother since this started except on video devices. I could have. That's up to me. We have guidelines... but that is up to individuals."

While Cuomo says there is no "law on social interactions," his New York State on PAUSE mandate, which he extended last week, bans all "non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason." The mandate has been extended a number of times and currently runs until May 28.

On Friday Cuomo offered advice if any New Yorker does have social interactions.

"I urge caution. I hope you do it smartly," he said.

Cuomo's New York Forward Guide advises Empire State residents to continue to avoid groups and stay inside as much as possible.

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