New York City could start reopening from its coronavirus-induced shutdown as early as June 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
“All roads are leading to the first half of June,” de Blasio said during his daily coronavirus press briefing, explaining that the Big Apple is expected to meet its own targets involving hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and the amount of those testing positive for the bug, as well as the state’s seven COVID-related benchmarks by that time.
Clarifying the timing of the city’s phased reopening, de Blasio said, “I’m saying first half of June. I’m obviously giving a little bit of range there, but I mean literally the first half of June, so somewhere between June 1 and June 15.
“I’m basing that on everything we know today,” de Blasio said, adding, “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.”
The mayor said that when the city enters phase one of reopening it will be based on state guidelines “possibly with some modifications for the reality of New York City.”
Under phase one of New York’s four-phase coronavirus reopening plan, construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chains, and retail businesses with curbside pickup can reopen.
“We have to talk to the state about particular features of the approach here that we need to implement together,” de Blasio said. “We need to think about the ramifications in terms of people getting around and congregating. There’s things we got to work through that are particularly challenging to the city.”
De Blasio touted Big Apple residents for the progress the city has made in its battle against the coronavirus, saying, “Something very good is happening because of your hard work.”
However, the mayor said, “We’re talking about small, smart steps,” adding, “It will take a series of steps over time to get back to anything like normal.”
Hizzoner did acknowledge Thursday that more and more New Yorkers are getting out from their coronavirus-induced isolation’s as he announced that the city is increasing rush-hour service on the Staten Island Ferry starting Thursday afternoon since ridership is up.
“We obviously see people out more. We see more traffic. We have to start making adjustments accordingly,” said de Blasio, who noted that ridership is up to 600 passengers daily.
“This signals something good is happening,” Hizzoner said, adding, “We need to get ahead of that.”
The city will now run Staten Island Ferry service every half-hour between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., de Blasio said.
“A step forward in terms of increasing service on the Staten Island Ferry and giving people more space as a result,” the mayor said, explaining, “We want to make sure those ferries don’t become crowded.”
Staten Island Ferry service was previously slashed because of the coronavirus pandemic with boats running every hour as ridership plunged.
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