Coronavirus

New York reopening Phase 2: when it starts, what can and can't be done

New York has entered Phase 2 of reopening and people can now go back to the office but many companies have decided to keep workers at home amid the outbreak.

New York reopening Phase 2: when it starts, what can and can't be done
ANGELA WEISS AFP

New York City was the epicenter of the pandemic and that is the reason why their plan of reopening completely has taken longer than other states in the country. On Monday, New York entered Phase 2 and up to 30,000 more people are expected to return to work. Long Island and the Mid-Hudson regions will join the rest of the state in Phase 3 this week.

Phase 2 in New York means that they have reopened outdoor dining, in-person retail, office-based jobs, hair salons, barbershops and more. Playgrounds will also reopen Monday, while team sports like basketball and football are still prohibited.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it clear that in this second phase of reopening, personal-care services like nails or massages won’t be able to open amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo also said that all places that are reopening need to be at half capacity and with mandatory Covid-19 safeguards in place like social distancing and facial coverings.

"It includes the single biggest piece of our economy. We're all in agreement this is the right thing to do," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "It's time to move forward, and if anything comes up in the data that's a concern we're going to talk about it publicly."

On Thursday, De Blasio added pedestrian plazas and backyard and patio seating to the outdoor dinning plan, saying the "Open Restaurants" initiative could ultimately save 5,000 restaurants and up to 45,000 jobs. He signed an order initiating that Thursday.

New York’s mayor presented in detail the “Open Restaurants” plan

Sidewalk seating: Must maintain a clear path free from obstructions between the seating and the curb.

Curb lane seating: Roadway seating can't exceed length of business frontage, and be separated from the travel lane with a barrier (planters, barricades). Restrictions on areas ineligible for roadway seating including ‘No Standing Anytime’ curbs, bus stops, within 15’ of hydrants, etc.

Open streets: DOT will work with community groups and partner agencies to identify additional seating within full street closures in July.

Plaza seating: Restaurants can work with their local Business Improvement District and DOT to request additional seating in plazas. Email: Plazas@dot.nyc.gov.

De Blasio says up to 350,000 people are expected to return to work in Phase 2, on top of the hundreds of thousands who went back when the city entered Phase 1. The city said it will distribute 2 million free face coverings to Phase 2 businesses on top of the 2 million it has already dispensed.