It seems New York City will enter phase 2 of its reopening plan sooner than expected.
During his daily briefing on Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the city was on track to lift additional coronavirus restrictions as soon as Monday, exactly two weeks after phase 1 began. Previous projections from lawmakers, including Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, had the city entering its second phase in late June or early July; however, Cuomo pointed to COVID-19 data as a sign that the city was ready to expand its reopening plan.
"New York City will have been Phase 1 for 14 days," Cuomo said, as reported by ABC 7. "Look at all the numbers. All the numbers are good. Look at the number of tests, the positive tests, you look at it from the point of reopening, the numbers are good. Hospitalizations, since reopening, the numbers are good. So New York City is on track to enter Phase 2 on Monday."
He continued: "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. We don't change the rules for Long Island. It's one set of rules for everyone, and they have worked everywhere in this state."
Hours before Cuomo's announcement, de Blasio also announced that it was possible for phase 2 to begin as soon as Monday, but he cautioned residents that this timeframe was not definitive.
"The earliest date we could go is Monday. It’s a decision we’re going to make very closely with the state," he said. "We’re all mindful that we had a very unusual situation with the protests, and we’re going to see, we believe the fuller impact if any, of the protests in terms of our health indicators around this weekend, maybe into the first few days of next week. That’s an important factor here."
NYC tallied 17 COVID-19-related deaths on Tuesday—a significant drop from its single-day peak of 1,000.
"If you're judging by today's numbers, we're in great shape," de Blasio said. "And I've been impressed that they've been very steady now for many days. But what we're looking for going into the weekend is do we see any variation there? I know the state's concerned about that as well. So it's a day-to-day discussion. We want to come to a decision with the state as quickly as possible."
Under phase 2, a number of businesses will be allowed to resume operations under COVID-19 guidelines. Here's what will reopen:
- Real estate services
- Salons and barbershops
- Car dealerships
- Restaurants will be permitted to offer outdoor dining
- Retailers, with exception to malls, may allow in-store shopping
- All office-based jobs; though companies may continue to require remote working.
In addition to malls, there are many other businesses that will not reopen under phase 2; these include movie theaters, zoos, bowling alleys, and children's play centers.