The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, announced this week, that New York City will enter the next phase of reopening on Monday with as many as 300,000 employees expected to return to work.
This phase would include expansion of outdoor dining, in store shopping and offices reopen, a move expected to give a strong jolt to the economic recovery of the city. "I'm very comfortable now saying that we will start Phase 2 on Monday June 22, 2020", the Mayor of New York City, Bill De Blasio, told reporters at his daily briefing.
Under this phase, hair salons, barber shops, some in-store shopping, real estate firms and offices would be allowed to open with social distancing and restrictions on capacity. Playgrounds would also reopen, as the summer season gets underway.
The Mayor said on Thursday, that restaurants in the city would be able to place seating in curbside parking areas, and on sidewalks adjacent to their restaurants, even if those establishments had never provided outdoor seating before. For restaurants that do not already have outdoor seating permits, the city would initiate an expedited application process starting on Monday June 22, 2020.
"I am very happy that we are going back to work, we have been struggling to pay our bills since the lockdown", said Hawa, from Senegal, who operates a hair braiding shop in Harlem. Hopefully, every one sitting home, would need to have their hair braided and we would see a spike in business, Hawa said.
New York City has seen a continuous decline in hospitalizations and the rate of positive tests results compared to the number of tests also continue to decline significantly. On Thursday, the State reported 618 cases, which is 0.90 percent of all tests, the lowest rate since the beginning of the outbreak. However, other parts of the United States, that moved too quickly to reopen, are seeing spikes in new infections. Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas all reported their largest one-day increases in new cases this week.
Governor Cuomo pointing to the increases in those states, urged New Yorkers to continue social distancing , wearing face masks in public to prevent a second wave of infections. Earlier this week, the Governor threatened to reinstate closures in the city after a number of photos and videos spread online showing a number of people flouting social distancing rules and congregating outside Manhattan bars.
The MTA, which runs the largest transit system in the United States also indicated that they expect ridership to increase significantly with this new phase, and urged anyone riding the trains or buses to wear face masks, and avoid crowded train cars as much as possible.