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Monday, 22 June 2020 22:24

NYC Mayor: City Moving into Phase 2 Will Help 300,000 People Return to Work

Written by Steve Bittenbender, The Center Square


New York City entered the second phase of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan on June 22, a move Mayor Bill de Blasio said would help upwards of 300,000 people return to work for the first time in more than three months.

The move means office buildings can reopen to employees at half capacity. Shoppers can go inside retail stores, and hair salons as well as barbershops are also allowed to reopen. Restaurants, meanwhile, can start offering outdoor dining on the sidewalks and street curbs in front of their establishments.


“Some businesses are going to open up immediately, some folks don't come back to work immediately,” the mayor said. “Others will take their time, some are going to watch and see how it goes. But what we know is, and we saw it in phase one, every passing day, more and more people say, 'hey, this is working, I want to be a part of it.'”


The mayor said since the morning of June 19, 3,200 restaurants have applied for outside dining privileges and were approved through a self-certification process.


The city has to stay in the second phase for at least two weeks---and still meet the state’s metrics---before it can move into the third phase of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan. Other regions of the state have been able to progress in just two weeks, and de Blasio said he’s cautiously optimistic the city can as well.


“I'll hold out hope that we can move through it quickly, but it's going to be based on the data and it's going to be, of course, a high bar because to do something here just affects so many millions of people, we have to get it right,” he said.


Statewide, Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not give a briefing June 22, but he posted the state’s latest COVID-19 statistics on Twitter. More than 56,000 tests were performed, with 552 individuals testing positive. Hospitalizations continued to fall, with 1,122 beds being used for COVID-19 patients, and 10 deaths were reported.


De Blasio also touched on a couple of issues that took place over the weekend. First, the mayor praised the police department for quickly suspending an officer caught on video putting a suspect in a chokehold. The state legislature passed a law banning the restraining technique earlier this month.

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