With this Sunday marks 14 days since New York City entered its first phase of reopening, the question posed to Mayor de Blasio has been whether or not the city will enter phase two this coming Monday. In his press conference this morning, the mayor said he believes it’s more likely to occur in early July, as he wants to monitor the COVID testing rates in light of recent protests. However, in a press conference just a couple hours later, Governor Cuomo said the city will enter phase two on Monday. “The same metrics we use in New York City are the same metrics we’ve used in every region across the state, and they have all shown to be accurate and effective. We don’t change the rules for New York City,” he said, adding that the purpose of a phased approach is to allow local governments “to get their acts together.”
“It’s one set of rules for everyone, and they have worked everywhere in the state. They work when we are responsible in what we’re doing. So New York City, do what every other region has done this far,” Cuomo added. He also noted that local government must assume this responsibility, especially when it comes to further ramping up testing and tracing as more people go back to work. “Part of the phasing is allowing the local governments to increase their capacity to handle the additional burden. They like to leave that out.”
For his part, Mayor de Blasio called attention to the fact that the coronavirus has a two-week incubation period, meaning that the city may not show a spike from the protests until this week or next. He did address increased testing, noting that there are now more than 200 testing sites across the five boroughs and that the new mobile testing trucks will be in the Bronx and Staten Island this week. By July, there will be 10 testing trucks performing 800 tests per day. The mayor did, however, say that he would announce a phase-two date as soon as he received 100-percent clarity from the state, which makes it seem that an official announcement will come from the city today.
Mayor de Blasio has faced criticism from other high-level elected officials for a lack of planning when it comes to the summer and further reopening. In an interview with the Post, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said, “An utter lack of foresight and vision has been a defining feature of the de Blasio administration’s response to this pandemic. The city has consistently failed to plan ahead and now we’re headed towards Phase Two of reopening with more questions than answers on everything from buses to beaches.”
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer tweeted, “What’s the plan to make sure kids have open spaces to play this summer? It’s not ok that some can afford to go to day camps upstate, while the kids in the city have to stay cooped up inside. We need a plan, and we need it fast.” Earlier today, she joined City Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, and others on the Upper West Side at a press conference calling for expedited outdoor restaurant space.
Today’s metrics show that New York City is in the most positive place it’s been since the pandemic began. Yesterday saw just 17 deaths, a new low, and hospitalizations have been on the decline for weeks, from a peak of 12,000 to 1,280 on June 8th to just 761 today. When the city enters phase two, the following industries and businesses will be able to reopen:
- Professional services
- administrative support
- higher education administration (excluding full campus reopening)
- Real estate
- residential property management entities
- real estate salespeople/brokers
- building inspectors
- building appraisers
- Commercial Building Management
- In-store non-essential and essential retail businesses
- Outdoor dining
- Vehicle sales, leases, and rental activities
- Retail rental, repair, and cleaning activities
- Hair salons and barbershops
- Places of Worship with 25-percent occupancy
As for the rest of the state’s 10 regions, the North Country, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier entered phase three last week, joined by Western New York and the Capital Region this week. The Mid-Hudson Valley (which consists of Westchester and Rockland counties) is on track to enter phase three on Tuesday, June 23; Long Island is on track for Wednesday, June 24.
- New York reopening guide: What’s open and what you need to know
- New York’s latest COVID antibody survey shows a rise in the Bronx and minority communities
- What will the summer real estate market look like in NYC this year?