June 16, 2020 By Allie Griffin
New York City residents may have to wait longer before they can get a haircut or eat out, as Mayor Bill de Blasio warned today it could take longer than expected to reach Phase 2 of reopening.
The city is the only region of the 10 regions in the state still in Phase 1 of the governor’s reopening plan.
De Blasio said it may take New York City until the beginning of July to enter the second phase, a little over three weeks from the date the city entered Phase 1. The nine other regions spent just two weeks in Phase one–and have permitted the reopening of barbershops, hair salons and outdoor dining at restaurants as part of the second phase.
The state requires regions to wait at least two weeks before going from Phase 1 to Phase 2. An evaluation is then made by state and local officials– and they can then enter the second phase if COVID-19 is under control.
The Big Apple could enter Phase 2 as early as Monday, June 22 — when it hits the two week mark itself — but de Blasio has warned city residents not to get their hopes up just yet.
New York City has been the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, but data shows it is finally managing to control the spread of the virus.
Just 2 percent of city residents tested for the virus had positive results, according to the latest Health Department data released Sunday. The city has also met the state’s seven COVID-related required benchmarks for reopening.
But de Blasio said the city must wait before reopening and needs to make sure there isn’t a new spike in COVID-19 cases given the large protests that have taken place so far this month.
“We certainly saw an aberrant reality with the protest activity, we want to know what that has resulted in in terms of the spread of the disease or maybe it hasn’t,” de Blasio said. “We don’t know that answer yet because not enough time has passed.”
The vast majority of protesters have been wearing face masks and all protests have been outdoors, where the virus is more difficult to spread, he noted.
The mayor said there still is a possibility that the city could enter Phase 2 next week.
“We will be ready next week if the indicators and the discussions with the state tell us that we’re ready to go next week,’ de Blasio said.
Under phase two, retail stores can open in-store shopping. Some offices, places of worship, real estate offices and car dealerships can also reopen with limited capacities.