New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City will be reopened on June 8. The city will reopen in phases and the five upstate regions which reopened two weeks ago can move on to Phase 2 of their reopening. The regions are Finger Lakes (including Rochester), Mohawk Valley (including Utica), Central New York (including Syracuse), Southern Tier and North Country.
Both Cuomo and de Blasio also said commuters will have to improvise to reach their destinations once the city is fully reopened since things will definitely not be as before again. He made it clear that the seven metrics he had established for reopening must be observed and these include wearing of face masks, keeping social distancing, provisions of personal protective equipment, capability for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and business resumptions with 50% capacity workforce.
“Remember that reopening does not mean we are going back to the way things were,” Cuomo said. “Life is not about going back, nobody goes back, we go forward. And it’s going to be different. It is reopening to a new normal, a safer normal. People will be wearing masks, people will be socially distant.”
The governor and city mayor revealed that up to 400,000 people within the manufacturing and construction sectors could go back to work as from June 8 and that retail businesses can also begin operating with roadside pickup. Under the Phase 2 reopening schedule, offices and in-store shopping can resume with 50% employee capacity, and real estate firms can also begin to operate again. Barbershops and hair salons will only reopen to customers via appointments only and employees must undergo coronavirus testing every two weeks.
The city leaders made it clear that the government will provide face masks for free to anyone going back to work, and people will be able to access a hotline to enquire about anything. People must wear face masks as they resume work and shoppers must do the same to buy things from reopened stores.
Given that the deluge of people going to work again will overwhelm the city transportation system, Cuomo and de Blasio said they will do everything to enable people to reach their destinations quickly but it is actually up to commuters to arrange for their transportations by improvising from available options. The governor recently shut down the city’s 24-hour subway service at night so that the trains can be disinfected.
“There’s not always a chance to help people all the time in terms of their transportation needs,” de Blasio said. “People are going to have to improvise, and I believe they will. Right now, it is about doing everything we can to make the subways and buses as safe and possible — that people can feel confident in — and after that, people will make whatever choices they make.”