New York City is likely to begin its economic recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak in early-June, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Seven of 10 inter-country regions in New York State had entered Phase 1 of their reopening by Thursday morning. The remaining three counties include most of the greater NYC-area — all five boroughs, Long Island and the Mid-Hudson region of counties just north of the city.
All three remaining regions had nearly met the seven COVID-19-related benchmarks of the CDC's reopening guidelines, concerning hospital capacity and coronavirus infection rate.
"All roads are leading to the first half of June," de Blasio said, during his daily coronavirus press briefing.
Phase 1 of New York State's reopening plan allows non-essential manufacturing, construction and agriculture to resume operations. Retail outlets are allowed to open, but only for curbside or in-store pickup, not in-store browsing. Employers have been asked to draw up workplace guidelines for social distancing and PPE usage before resuming operations.
Regarding the timing of getting New York City restarted, de Blasio said, "I'm saying first half of June. I'm obviously giving a little bit of ranger there, but I mean literally the first half of June, so somewhere between June 1 and June 15.
He said the projection is based on where New York currently stands in its battle with the virus and what officials currently know about it.
Echoing recent comments by Governor Andrew Cuomo, de Blasio cautioned that the novel coronavirus has been full of surprises since the beginning of the pandemic; facts on the virus have changed as science has gathered more data on it.
"This disease has thrown us a lot of curveballs so we're not going to rest on laurels or assume we have a crystal ball," he added.
Congestion in the city remains a chief concern, as evidence mounts that person-to-person contact is the biggest factor in transmission of the virus.
De Blasio said the city will discuss with the state how NYC's Phase 1 reopening might differ from Phase 1 in the state's suburban and rural regions.
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