Photo by Emiliano Bar on Unsplash
In an appearance on Morning Joe this morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he plans to lift all Covid-related restrictions in New York City by July 1st, arguably the biggest step towards a return to normalcy. According to his timeline, this summer, restaurants, stadiums, and museums will all start operating at 100 percent capacity, schools will fully reopen in the fall, and Broadway will return in September. “We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength,” said the mayor.
The reopening will be 16 months since the city first shut down. The mayor encouraged New Yorkers to keep getting vaccinated in advance of what he’s calling “the summer of New York City.” To date, more than 6.3 million vaccinations have been administered in New York City. Nearly three million people are fully vaccinated.
Questions remain about if and how Governor Cuomo will need to be involved in the plan. Throughout the pandemic, all restrictions were set by the state, oftentimes with stricter guidelines set for New York City than elsewhere. In a statement to the New York Times mayoral spokesperson Bill Neidhardt said, “We laid out a plan, we will back it up with skyrocketing vaccination numbers and declining cases. If someone wants to deny that, let’s have that discussion in public. We feel strongly we’d win that debate.”
If the July 1st date does come to fruition, the following sectors will be able to operate at 100 percent capacity:
- Restaurants and bars
- Stores, shops, and small businesses
- Hair salons and barbershops
- Gyms and fitness classes
- Arenas and stadiums
- Theaters, music halls, and museums
Currently, indoor dining at NYC restaurants is operating at 50 percent capacity (outside of the city, it’s increased to 75 percent). Next month, the 12 a.m. curfew at New York restaurants and bars will end and bar seating will be allowed again. Also next month, large indoor sports arenas can increase capacity from 10 percent to 25 percent, and outdoor venues from 20 to 33 percent. In addition, offices can increase capacity from 50 to 75 percent, casinos and gaming facilities from 25 to 50 percent, and gyms outside of NYC from 33 to 50 percent. This week, capacity at museums and zoos was raised to 50 percent and to 33 percent at movie theaters.
- Cuomo expands capacity at museums, movie theaters, and sports arenas
- NYC opening guide: Dates and details for events, museums, dining, travel, and more
- Walk-up COVID vaccinations open for all New Yorkers at city- and state-run sites