NYC Pushes Through to Phase Three of Reopening

Megan Burney

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As states across the country continue to face new surges of the Coronavirus, NYS remains on track with its plans to reopen.  Today, Monday July 6, 2020, NYC catches up to the rest of the state as we move into Phase Three of Gov. Cuomo’s NY Forward plan.  This benchmark comes as a result of decreasing infections, hospitalizations and deaths relating to the virus. 

Despite these significant strides and our strong standing compared to states like Texas, Florida and California, Phase Three isn’t exactly all that we’d hoped it would be.

Last Thursday Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated the decision to eliminate indoor dining from Phase Three industries during a press conference:  

“Now, let’s remember we made a decision that we could not go ahead with indoor dining, given everything that we’re seeing around the country, all the problems, really troubling realities in other parts of the country, and a lot of it connected to bars and restaurants.”

He also announced an expansion to outdoor dining to “give maximum options to our restaurants [and] to their employees.”  The initiative, Open Streets and Open Restaurants, focuses mainly on creating outdoor seating in car-free streets throughout the city.  In Brooklyn alone there are 83 streets closed to traffic, but open to pedestrians, cyclists and restaurants at varying hours of the week.  (Be sure to keep an eye out for our roundup of Bushwick restaurants offering outdoor dining!)

So what does Phase Three include?

To start, dog runs, like the one in Maria Hernandez Park, and outdoor sports facilities and courts are now open, but organized team sports are not yet permitted.  Libraries may operate under grab-and-go services, but there’s only one indoor industry reopening: personal care.

Personal Care industries are non-hair-related personal care businesses and services, including tattoo and piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, spas, cosmetology, nail specialty, UV and non-UV tanning, or waxing.  And they must adhere to strict guidelines like limiting the workforce and customer presence to no more than 50% occupancy, implementing mandatory health screening assessments, and requiring that employees are tested for COVID-19 every 14 days.

What’s still closed?

Schools, amusement parks, gyms, movie theaters, Broadway and other musical theaters, and museums.  If we continue to follow the two-week allowance between phases and if experts deem it safe enough, all of this could reopen by July 20, but don’t count on it.  In fact, many of these businesses and venues have set their own agenda to reopen, some of which will remain closed through the end of 2020.

We can keep our hopes high, but it’s important to remember that as we start to reopen and recover from the pandemic we still have to wear masks in public and take the necessary precautions outside of our homes. 

Cover Photo by Lindsay Jones (@drjonesss).

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