Five New York Regions To Enter Phase III Of Reopening Friday


Five inter-county regions of New York State will enter Phase III or reopening on Friday.

Phase III will allow restaurants to open up indoor dining at half capacity, as well as personal care services like nail salons and tattoo parlors.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that social distancing must be maintained and face coverings are required.

The five regions were all among the first in the state to begin reopening on May 15: the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, North Country and Central New York.

Gov. Cuomo also approved the immediate reopening of playgrounds. He said public pools may reopen at the discretion of local governments. Officials should only make such moves if data supports the changes, he added.

"They have to use their judgment here. They should be looking at the [positive tests], see where those positives are coming from," Cuomo said. "Everybody wants to swim, I understand. Everybody doesn't want to see a spike in COVID again. Sometimes 'yes' is not the right answer."

The governor has repeated throughout the Road Back initiative that all reopening decision in the state are based solely upon data and benchmarks from the CDC.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will have to wait longer before playgrounds and pools reopen, but they will likely return to use this summer. The department of health is working on a plan based on health indicators in the five boroughs.

While NYC just began Phase I on Monday, De Blasio added that he expects the city to begin to feel alive again when it enters Phase II, which is likely to be in early-July but could come later this month.

The coronavirus has infected more than 380,000 in New York State. The respiratory disease it causes, COVID-19, has killed an estimated 30,000 New Yorkers.

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