At his daily briefing on Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York City is "on track" to enter Phase 2 of reopening on Monday, June 22nd. It was previously expected that the city would enter Phase 2 later in June, or early July. Just hours before the governor's comment, Mayor Bill de Blasio said there were several indicators he was looking over the next several days to decide if the city was ready for the next phase, and an announcement would be forthcoming.

"The earliest date we could go is Monday," de Blasio said. "It’s a decision we’re going to make very closely with the State. We’re all mindful that we had a very unusual situation with the protests. And we’re going to see, we believe the fuller impact if any, of the protests in terms of our health indicators around this weekend, maybe into the first few days of next week. That’s an important factor here."

De Blasio added that the impact of Phase 1 also needs to be considered, and "is much bigger than the protests in the sense of, you know, several hundred thousand people each day going back to work, every day for the full workday. We are watching to see how these things are affecting the reality. There’s always the danger that things go in the wrong direction."

If the data continues to be favorable, New York City will make a giant leap into something resembling normalcy, but we're still in a pandemic. Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned, "When I see pictures of people congregating at bars when the location they are indicates they shouldn’t be doing that, that’s very risky. People keep talking about a second wave. We’re still in a first wave.”

What will reopen in Phase 2?

  • Outdoor dining will be allowed (here's the plan to make that happen)
  • In-Store Retail, with new safety guidelines (this does not apply to malls, which will remain closed in Phase 2)
  • Salons and barbershops
  • Real estate services
  • Car dealerships
  • Commercial building management
  • Offices (though many companies will keep working remotely, offices will be reopening with new safety guidelines)

Over the past week, some of the city's bars and restaurants have already reopened for outdoor dining, ahead of Phase 2, leading to crowds congregating on streets for lengthy day-drinking sessions. Many were not wearing masks.

It's become increasingly clear that masks are an essential element in slowing the spread of the virus. In Florida, a group of 16 friends tested positive after a night out drinking at a recently reopened bar there; no one in the group wore a mask. In Missouri, two hairstylists who were positive for COVID-19 kept working, but none of the 140 customers they interacted with tested positive; they all wore masks.

June 13th, 2020, East Village. No masks.

Gretchen Robinette / Gothamist

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