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COVID-19: Date Now Set For NYC Phase 1 Reopening

New York City is on track to reopen amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo Credit: ny.gov
New York City is on track to reopen amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo Credit: ny.gov
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his COVID-19 briefing on Friday, May 29, 2020. Photo Credit: ny.gov

New York City is now officially on track to be the final of the state's 10 regions to reopen as it continues recovering from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Friday, May 29 held at Iona College in New Rochelle, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the city is nearing the state requirements to enter Phase 1 of reopening as soon as Monday, June 8.

“Reopening in New York City is more complicated, as we know, but we’re on track to meet all the metrics,” Cuomo said. “We think it can all be done by next week, and then we’d be on track to open up the week after.”

Cuomo said that hospitalization, fatality, and infection rates have been dropping in New York City, and they are now getting contact tracers up to speed in advance of reopening. He said that his office is now focusing on some lower-income areas in the city, where the infection rate is more than double the citywide rate of approximately 19 percent.

“In some zip codes in the Brooklyn and the Bronx, we’ve been targeting those, and we know where they are and we’ve been speaking with (New York City) Mayor (Bill de Blasio) about that,” he said. “We know where the hot spots are, and we’re going to focus on those next week.”

Cuomo noted that as the state begins reopening, New Yorkers should be prepared for the “new normal.”

“Reopening does not mean we’re going to go back to the way things were … life isn’t about going back,” he said. “It’s going to be different. We’re reopening to a new normal, a safer normal, where people will be wearing masks and socially distancing. It’s a new way of interacting.”

Phase 1 of the reopening plan allows nonessential manufacturing, construction and retail businesses to reopen, but with social-distancing and density-reduction precautions in place. Retail is only allowed curbside or in-store pickups.

During Phase 1, approximately 400,000 employees in New York City are expected to get back to work

"We are excited to get to the point of a restart for New York City," de Blasio told Cuomo in a video chat during the news briefing, saying that it is possible through “the collaboration between you and me” and other government agencies. That comes a day after Cuomo appeared with celebrities Rosie Perez and Chris Rock at his daily briefing, held in Brooklyn, and was asked by a reporter why he hadn't made any public appearances with de Blasio during the pandemic. The two have a rivalry that dates back decades.

There were 152 new COVID-19 cases in New York in the past 24 hours, with 67 dying from the virus, the lowest since the pandemic struck in mid-March. Statewide, there have been 1,944,130 New Yorkers tested, with 368,284 testing positive. There have been 23,780 COVID-19 fatalities in New York.

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