Curb your enthusiasm: Mayor tamps down hopes of early start to NYC’s phase 2 reopening

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers the State of the City address on the Upper West Side, Jan. 10, 2019. (Photo by Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY)

New Yorkers should not get too excited about the possibility of the city entering phase 2 of reopening before July, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday. 

On Monday, up to 400,000 people returned to jobs at construction and manufacturing sites along with some retail stores as New York City became the last region in the state to officially begin phase 1 of reopening three months after Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted “NY on PAUSE” due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Those returning to the workforce were met with temperature checks, coronavirus screenings and other new coronavirus-related workplace regulations to mitigate the spread of the disease.

While other parts of the state, most recently, have already moved to phase 2 of reopening, New York City opened June 8 after finally reaching seven state benchmarks that have to do with hospitalization numbers, positive cases, hospital beds and contact and tracing capacity. 

In honor of city’s reopening, de Blasio held on Monday a press conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard where he told reporters that that phase 2 of reopening would most likely not happen before July. 

“If we’re ready on June 22, that’s beautiful, but I don’t want people to have undue expectations,” de Blasio told reporters on Tuesday. “We are trying to do something so difficult in these next few weeks.”

As part of phase 2, businesses like hair salons, barbershops, in-store retail, and some offices will be able to reopen, and professional services like finance and insurance can also start up again. Restaurants will also be able to provide outdoor dining.

De Blasio pledged to provide eateries with guidance for phase 2 reopening “very quickly,” elaborating that more information would be given within the next two weeks, the same time that phase two would begin if coronavirus numbers and hospitalizations continue to stay under city and state thresholds. 

As of June 7, the city reported that less than 1% of those tested for the novel coronavirus tested positive, 52 hospital admissions for suspected COVID-19 and 337 people in Intensive Care Units for coronavirus-related complications.