Bill de Blasio


NYC to launch new mobile COVID-19 testing program

By Devin Gannon, Fri, June 5, 2020

COVID-19 testing site sat the Highbridge Recreation Center in Manhattan. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

Getting tested for the coronavirus in New York City is about to get easier. Starting next week, the city will launch a mobile testing program that will bring testing “trucks” to different neighborhoods, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday. The news comes after the city expanded free COVID-19 testing for all New Yorkers, a part of the Test and Trace Corps that kicked off this week ahead of the city’s phase one reopening on Monday.

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Policy, Transportation

Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit on Flickr

With up to 400,000 New Yorkers expected to return to the workforce under the city’s phase one reopening on Monday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants to add 60 miles of dedicated bus lanes to alleviate crowding. In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sarah Feinberg, interim president of NYC Transit, wrote a “robust bus system will be crucial” for the city’s rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Policy, Restaurants, Top Stories

Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday released a preliminary plan permitting restaurants to use open streets and parking spots for outdoor dining service, allowed during the New York City’s second phase of reopening. The mayor said the “Open Restaurants” program would streamline the process for restaurants to set up sidewalk seating, let restaurants to convert adjacent parking spots into seating, and allow seating areas on streets currently closed to cars. The city, which is preparing to enter phase one of reopening on Monday, could be ready for phase two in early July, according to the mayor.

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Policy, Transportation

Photo: Patrick Cashin / MTA New York City Transit

As the city prepares to enter phase one of reopening on Monday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority released this week its plan to return to “regular” service, which no longer means 24-hour service. Subways and buses will run more frequently starting next week, but the subway system will still shut down between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. for nightly disinfection. Mayor Bill de Blasio this week also released a plan for transit that calls for capacity limits and blocking off every other seat. But the MTA called the mayor’s idea “utterly unworkable” and said his proposed capacity limits would allow the agency to serve just 8 percent of riders.

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COVID-19 testing site sat the Highbridge Recreation Center in Manhattan on May 19, 2020. Photo courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

All New Yorkers will now be able to get tested for the coronavirus for free, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. The universal testing is part of the city’s Test and Trace Corps program, which launched on Monday and remains a critical component of the city’s reopening, expected to start on June 8. There are about 150 testing sites across the five boroughs, with the ability to test 20,000 people total each day.

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More Top Stories, Policy

Photo of a Black Lives Matter demonstration in 2016 by Nicole Baster on Unsplash

Mayor Bill de Blasio extended the citywide curfew to Sunday and said it will start three hours earlier at 8 p.m. following a night of looting. The mayor and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday jointly announced an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and an increase of police enforcement following a weekend of protests. The NYPD announced that after 8 p.m. the only vehicles allowed south of 96th Street in Manhattan will be essential workers, buses, and delivery trucks. Likewise, Citi Bike has been required to shut down service for the duration of the curfew.

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Policy, Top Stories

NYC is on track to start reopening week of June 8

By Devin Gannon, Fri, May 29, 2020

Photo by Daniel Lee on Unsplash

New York City is gearing up to begin the reopening process the week of June 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday. During a press briefing, the governor said the city should be able to join the state’s nine other regions in reopening phase one businesses, which includes all construction, manufacturing, and some retail stores. “I am proud of the way New York is figuring it out,” Cuomo said.

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Policy, Transportation

Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit on Flickr

New York City will likely begin the reopening process early next month, with as many as 400,000 employees expected to return to work during this first phase, Mayor Bill de Blasio said this week. While the mayor on Thursday released guidelines for phase one businesses to safely reopen without a resurgence of the coronavirus, no plan has been issued from City Hall on how employees returning to the workforce will commute there safely.

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Policy, Restaurants

Photo by almapapi on Pixabay

The New York City Council is set to introduce legislation on Thursday that requires the city to use open space for outdoor dining during the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants and bars have now been closed for in-person service for over two months because of the state’s “pause” order that shuttered all nonessential businesses. And while takeout and delivery options remain available, the restaurant industry has taken a tremendous hit, with many longtime restaurants forced to close permanently.

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Photo of Rockaway Beach via Dan DeLuca on Flickr

The New York City Council on Saturday urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to open the city beaches this summer safely amid the coronavirus pandemic, including allowing swimming. Currently, swimming is not permitted, but local residents are allowed to walk or sit on the beach. A number of council members this weekend released 10-point beach reopening guidelines, which include limited capacity, social distancing markers, mask requirements, and increasing transit options to beach communities.

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