Coronavirus USA Updates: NYC can do phase 1 reopening ‘very, very soon,’ mayor says

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Coronavirus USA Updates: NYC can do phase 1 reopening 'very, very soon,' mayor says
Coronavirus USA Updates: NYC can do phase 1 reopening 'very, very soon,' mayor says

New York state has a set of metrics to reopen each region, but when it comes to reopening dense, hard-hit New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a “more difficult situation.”

The governor said he’s putting a big focus on the city’s hot spots. By zip code, Cuomo said the hardest-hit spots are the outer boroughs, minority and lower income communities.

Cuomo said the state is addressing the underlying health care inequality in these most-impacted communities by bringing more diagnostic testing, antibody testing, healthcare services and PPE.

Earlier on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is “getting to the point very, very soon where we can take the first step to restart in phase one.”

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Phase one could begin in the first or second week of June, he said, “if the numbers continue to hold.”

This first phase includes opening nonessential retail — like clothing, office supplies, furniture and appliances — for curbside and in-store pickup only, the mayor said.

He predicts 200,000 to 400,000 New Yorkers will be returning to work.

All industries must keep 6 feet of social distancing, reduce occupancy to under 50% and limit confined space — like elevators and cash registers — to one person. Meetings should be limited and only in large, well-ventilated areas where participants can social distance, the mayor said.

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Employees must be provided with free face coverings and proper protective equipment, he added.

Businesses also must implement health screenings where necessary, including temperature checks.

The city’s Department of Buildings, Department of Consumer and Worker Protection and Small Business Services will educate, conduct outreach and support all businesses, the mayor said.

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New York City’s fire department, sanitation department and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection will conduct random visits to ensure compliance. Summonses will only be issued in “egregious circumstances or repeat violations,” the mayor said.

The governor announced on Thursday that he’s signing an executive order authorizing businesses to deny entry to those who do not wear a mask or face covering.

New York City has more than 225 testing sites, Cuomo said. He urged anyone who has a symptom or who has been exposed to someone positive to get tested.

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