New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday confirmed that the city will enter phase two of reopening on June 22, two weeks after it entered the first phase.
During his daily briefing, the mayor has said, “We’ve seen consistent progress and it is time to say to everyone get ready for phase two”.
“It’s time to move forward, and if anything comes up in the data that’s a concern we’re going to talk about it publicly,” he added.
According to the state’s phased reopening plan, hair salons, barbershops, and outdoor dining are among businesses allowed to restart operating in phase two. Some office works can also resume.
Businesses and offices should keep their capacity at 50 per cent. Face coverings and social distancing are mandatory, according to the plan.
De Blasio’s decision followed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement on Wednesday regarding New York City’s transitioning to phase two. The mayor was reluctant to give a specific date of the transitioning on Wednesday, citing the potential impact of the sustained mass protests on COVID-19 infections.
Cuomo on Thursday said the state’s daily positive rate of COVID-19 testing dropped to a new low at 0.90 per cent, down from 0.96 per cent a day before.
The governor said at his daily briefing that the spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida has made him consider imposing a 14-day self-quarantine for people who travel to New York from the southeastern state.
The state has now been encouraging people who attended the recent protests against the death of African-American man, George Floyd to receive COVID-19 diagnostic tests to avoid a resurgence of infections.
Cuomo shut down the entire state March 22 as the New York City area emerged as a global pandemic hot spot, but the outbreak has been less severe in the state’s smaller cities and rural areas.
New York’s first tentative steps toward reopening follow other states that have already relaxed restrictions last month.
Meanwhile, New York state confirmed 618 cases on Wednesday, bringing the state total to 385,760, according to the state government.