NYC begins phase 1 re-opening today (here’s what that means)
Yesterday (Sunday, June 7), the curfew that was implemented in NYC amidst the city's protests against police brutality was lifted (and de Blasio pledged to cut funding from the NYPD and shift to youth and social services), and today (Monday, June 8) begins phase one of the city's "re-opening," nearly three full months after the city's stay-at-home orders were put in place. If you're wondering what exactly it means for the city to re-open, and what phase one is, here are some answers.
Regarding the subway system, and what businesses are allowed to open, NBC New York reports:
Commuters find daytime subway schedules back to usual Monday, with signs showing people how far apart to stand — or try to — on platforms. The 1 a.m.-to-5 a.m. shutdowns that began in early May continue so trains can be disinfected. They'll also see new social distancing decals on Metro-North trains, which mandate facial coverings among other protocols to reduce the risk of spread.
Construction, manufacturing, wholesalers and previously “nonessential” retailers resume work as of Monday, with restrictions. Retailers reopen for delivery and pickup, though customers can't yet browse inside. The latter restriction will be eased when New York City enters Phase II, which Mayor Bill de Blasio says could happen in early July. Much of the rest of the state has already taken that next step, with the Long Island and Mid-Hudson regions expected to do so this week.
Regular bus service is back as well. Face-masks are still required for all workers and commuters.
Patch also adds that, to make sure coronavirus doesn't surge, the city "will employ a test and trace program with the goal of limiting the spread of coronavirus as people head back to work and may be forced into situations where social distancing becomes difficult." De Blasio also said this week that all NYC residents are now eligible for free testing.
As for why phase one is beginning now, the city had to meet these seven requirements: a 14-day decline in net hospitalizations or under 15 new hospitalizations on a three-day average, a 14-day decline in hospital deaths or fewer than five deaths on a three-day average, less than two new patients hospitalized with coronavirus per 100,000 residents, 30% of total hospital and ICU beds available, a 90-day stockpile of PPE in hospitals, the ability to conduct 30 diagnostic tests a month for every 1,000 residents, and at least 30 contract tracers for every 100,000 residents (or based on infection rate).
In two weeks, the city will re-evaluate and decide if we are able to move into phase two. Phase two allows for the re-opening of professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support, and real estate/rental leasing; Gothamist reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo said last week outdoor dining would be allowed during phase two, as long as tables are six feet apart, all staff wears face coverings, and all customers wear face coverings when not seated.
Restaurants and bars otherwise can't properly open until phase three, which also includes the full re-opening of hotels (which are considered essential and currently open in some capacity). The fourth and final phase allows for the re-opening of schools, arts, entertainment, recreation, and education. Politico reports that the city's "plan A" is to have school open in September, but that de Blasio also said, "If for any reason we’re not confident of that, then there’s a plan B, a plan C and a plan D. You can do all sorts of things, from alternating days, staggered schedules."
Health experts don't expect arena/stadium concerts and sporting events to properly return until 2021, though it was recently revealed that the NBA will resume their 2019-2020 season on July 31 inside Walt Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex (with restrictions and no fans in the stands). "Socially-distant" concerts have already started happening in other cities, and a drive-in music festival is being planned to happen in Yankee Stadium's parking lot.