New York City is set to begin Phase One of reopening certain businesses under social distancing guidelines on Monday, June 8.
Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed on Wednesday that he plans to begin the city starting with roughly 32,000 shuttered construction sites opening back up this week. This will be followed by those working in wholesale, manufacturing, agriculture, and retail companies to be able to return in a limited capacity. Other places like office jobs, hair salons, gyms, and restaurants with outdoor dining won't be able to open in the city until the second phase of the state plan begins, which is likely to be in July.
Those limited guidelines include keeping occupancy in stores under 50 percent, ensure employees are still practicing six feet distance from each other, limit in-person meetings and doing them in a well-ventilated area with social distancing; providing protective gear like masks for employees, daily healthcare screenings, and put up signs and to ensure employees maintain social distancing. MTA services will also begin running it's regular services again on Monday as well with requirements that everyone wears a face covering.
"[These businesses] were chosen because you can create physical separation," said mayor de Blasio. "That's a lot of employees coming back to work ... we want to emphasize safety throughout. We say 'restart' — we do not mean rushing back to something we used to think of as normal. We do not mean flicking a switch and suddenly everything is where it was again. We have to make sure this virus is in check. We've come a long way, not going to blow it now."
Phase One begins as New York City records its first day with no COVID-related deaths since the pandemic began on June 3. In order to begin Phase One of Governor Andrew Cuomo's four-phase "NYC Forward" reopening initiative in the first place, New York City had to meet all seven of the Governor's health-based benchmarks, which it did. NYC has been one of the last places to begin rolling out its plan to reopen businesses mainly because it found itself at the heart of the pandemic only a few months ago.
“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild as a city, we need all New Yorkers to continue taking public health measures to protect each other’s health,” said City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “The precautions are in place to keep workers safe, and the health of our city depends on them being followed.”