New York City was given the go ahead to enter Phase II of reopening on Monday as directed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo after Friday’s daily COVID briefing.
What We Know:
- Phase II will allow for outdoor dining at bars and restaurants to reopen, in-person retail, hair salons and barbershops and more office-based jobs will resume work. These operations must be kept at half capacity with mandatory COVID safety regulations such as social distancing and the requirement of face masks.
- Mayor Bill de Blasio says, “It includes the single biggest piece of our economy. We’re all in agreement this is the right thing to do. It’s time to move forward, and if anything comes up in the data that’s a concern we’re going to talk about it publicly.” De Blasio decided on a restaurant reopening plan before Phase I went into effect which includes making more temporary spaces available, leveraging curbside seating, sidewalks and open streets. He says open restaurants could save 5,000 restaurants and up to 45,000 jobs.
- The Department of Transportation will post a self-certification application for sidewalk and curbside seating. Gov. Cuomo signed an executive order which allows the state to shut down any violators of the reopening guidelines and strip them of liquor licenses. Bars will also be held accountable for the sidewalk in front of their businesses.
- De Blasio says more than 350,000 people are expected to go back to work with the reopening of the state. 2 million free face masks will be distributed to those who need it in efforts to reduce the amount of COVID cases. A spike in new cases has not yet been seen in New York City because NYC is the only region still in Phase I despite other states seeing new spikes in cases.
According to the World Health Organization, the pandemic has entered a “new and dangerous phase” as new COVID cases continue to rise daily which more than half of the cases coming from the United States.