New York City, the last closed region of New York State during the COVID-19 pandemic, finally has a projected reopening date.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday afternoon that the city’s on track to begin the first reopening phase on Monday, June 8.
Cuomo said the state and city governments will be working over the next week to continue a concentrated effort to further reduce COVID-19 infections in hotspots located across the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. They will also be working to get contract tracers online and distribute further PPE and masks.
The MTA will also be preparing subways and buses over the next week to increase scheduled service, Cuomo added.
The reopening is not a return to the pre-COVID-19 world, but a new normal in which more than 400,000 workers at the start will be returning to their jobs with various health precautions in place.
“Remember that reopening does not mean we’re going back to the way things work. It’s going to be different,” Cuomo said. “It’s reopening to a new, safer normal. People will be wearing masks and socially distanced. It’s just a new way of interacting, which is what we have to do.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who joined Cuomo for the announcement via video, said both the city and state were confident by the progress made to pinpoint a tentative reopening date.
“When I talked to the people of the city this morning, I told them the indicators were absolutely moving in the right direction,” de Blasio said, “but the key to getting to the point of definition for Phase 1 came from the collaboration to get on the same page and make sure we were confident that this was the right time to do it.”
Under Phase 1, construction and light manufacturing will be permitted to resume. Retailers will also be able to open to customers for curbside delivery. All workers and customers will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing.