New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has confirmed that the city will enter Phase 2 of the state's coronavirus reopening plan on Monday.
"Get on your mark, get set, 'cause here we go," de Blasio said Thursday, a day after Governor Cuomo asserted that the city was ready to move forward.
Despite meeting the CDC benchmarks for advancing reopening earlier in the week, Mayor de Blasio cautioned Wednesday that his office was still reviewing coronavirus data, concerned about the two-week incubation period of the virus.
By Thursday, the mayor appeared more convinced.
"It's time to move forward, and if anything comes up in the data that's a concern we're going to talk about it publicly," he said.
More than 300,000 New Yorkers could return to work in Phase 2.
In person retail sales are allowed to resume and restrictions on indoor gatherings are further relaxed. City playgrounds are open again, but team sports remain prohibited.
The most significant change between the first two phases is allowances for outdoor dining, meaning the city's robust culinary community can largely get back to work.
With vehicular traffic at an all-time low, de Blasio's office began closing miles of city streets to vehicular traffic earlier in the spring in order to expand outdoor seating for restaurants and social distancing among pedestrians.
De Blasio says the 'Open Restaurants' initiative could save 5,000 restaurants and up to 45,000 jobs.
Whereas many states in the nation are reporting all-time highs in coronavirus infections, weeks or months after relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, the two hardest hit states, New York and New Jersey, are seeing steady reductions in confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Officials have continued to urge caution, social distancing, hygiene and face coverings as restrictions are allayed.
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