New York City Eases Into Phase 4 of Reopening, but Indoor Limits Remain – The New York Times, New York Times

New York City Eases Into Phase 4 of Reopening, but Indoor Limits Remain – The New York Times, New York Times

Monday brings a new stage of activity to the city, allowing some places to reopen outdoors, while many activities inside, like restaurant dining, will still be forbidden.




New York City to Enter Phase 4 on Monday, de Blasio Says

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would allow some outdoor entertainment venues like zoos and botanical gardens to reopen with limited capacities but that restrictions would remain on indoor activities.

We are moving forward with Phase 4 on Monday. Now, the state of New York is finishing some work today into this afternoon on the specifics, and they’ll have a formal announcement later on. But I can give you the broad outlines now of what we’ve talked about with the state. Let’s focus first on outdoors, again, outdoors has proven to be the area where we’re seeing a lot of things work successfully. So, we’re going to restart the low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment activities. This means things like botanical gardens and zoos, for example. They can reopen but at reduced capacity, 50 percent capacity. Production of movies, TV shows – that can proceed. The, obviously, something that matters to a lot of us, sports coming back. But again – without audiences. Indoors is where we have concerns. Some indoor activities can exist with the proper restrictions. But there’s going to be care when it comes to indoors. Each and every situation is going to be looked at very carefully, very individually. So some will not resume in Phase 4, certainly not right away. That continues to be, first of all, indoor dining. That could have started earlier. We’ve said that’s not happening. That continues to not happen. That is very high risk. And we’ve seen that around the country. Museums, not yet. Malls, not yet. Still closed for now. We’ve got to strike a balance, and we’ve got time to look at the evidence, watch what’s happened around the country, watch what’s happening here in the city, and make further decisions on some of these pieces. And we’ll do that very carefully with the state of New York.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would allow some outdoor entertainment venues like zoos and botanical gardens to reopen with limited capacities but that restrictions would remain on indoor activities. Credit Credit … Hiroko Masuike / The New York Times

(July 19,

    (Updated 6: Luis Ferré-Sadurní pm ET


Amid concerns about a coronavirus resurgence, New York City will enter a limited fourth phase of (reopening) on Monday, allowing some art and entertainment venues, like zoos and botanical gardens, to open for outdoor activities at a limited capacity, officials Announced on Friday.

But stringent restrictions will remain on indoor activities: Gyms, malls, movie theaters and museums will remain shuttered, and indoor dining will still not be allowed.

“We’ve got to strike a balance, and we’ve got time to look at the evidence,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news co nference. “Watch what’s happening around the country, watch what’s happening here in the city and make further decisions on some of these pieces, and we will do that very carefully with the State of New York.”

Officials are increasingly concerned about the possibility that visitors from other states will spread the virus in New York, once the epicenter of the pandemic. Last month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo put in place an executive order that requires travelers from states with high infection rates to quarantine for days upon arrival.

But Mr. Cuomo said on Friday that the order might not be enough to fend off the virus, and reiterated that he was troubled by reports of New Yorkers, especially young people, letting their guard down

and eschewing social-distancing and mask-wearing measures.

The governor announced (new regulations) on Thursday meant to crack down on outdoor drinking and mingling outside bars and restaurants. The new rules ban establishments from selling alcohol to customers who do not also buy food.

“It is inevitable that there will be a second wave,” Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, said in a conference call with reporters on Friday. “But the second wave is going to be the confluence of the lack of compliance and the local governments’ lack of enforcement, plus the viral spread coming back from the other states. It is going to happen. ”

He added,“ Just because it is not there today does not mean it’s not going to happen. ”

New York City is the last part of the state to enter the final phase of reopening – a feat Mr. Cuomo described as “a hallmark.” Phase 4 permits groups of up to People and indoor religious gatherings to operate at one-third of maximum capacity. Restrictions will also be eased to allow the resumption of outdoor film production and professional sports without audiences.

But concerned about the virus’s spreading more rapidly in dense and crowded New York City , Mr. Cuomo said that Phase 4 of reopening in the city would not restore any additional indoor activities – even though other regions of the state further along in reopening have done so, for example, by allowing indoor dining at up to half capacity.

Museums have also been allowed to open in upstate areas , and malls have been allowed to get back to business as long as they put in place specialized air filtration systems that can filter out virus particles.

The lack of uniformity in what is being allowed in different parts of the state has raised complaints from some business owners and patrons. Mr. Cuomo said the state would revisit the city’s relatively curtailed Phase 4 as the “facts change.”

The limits on indoor dining were a devastating blow for the city’s thousands of restaurants , many of which were expecting to supplement revenue from outdoor dining with the expected return of indoor dining at a reduced capacity.

Many restaurants are not making enough money with just takeout and outdoor dining, and are struggling to pay their current and back rent. Restaurants in neighborhoods like Midtown Manhattan that have been emptied of office workers are struggling more than those in residential neighborhoods.

“Extending the time frame for outdoor dining is critical, but long term, it won’t sustain the industry without financial support that needs to come from the federal government, ”said Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

The cautious approach also upended the plans of several cultural institutions in New York City, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of the City of New York, both of which had announced intentions to reopen in a few weeks.

Still, four city ​​zoos and the New York Botanical Garden have already announced they will open to the public at limited capacity by the end of the month.

Th ose openings are sure to give New York an added semblance of normalcy, even as small businesses and restaurants have struggled to operate on slim margins since the broad shutdown in mid-March.

Offices, hair salons, barbershops and construction sites have all opened, albeit with restrictions on capacity, strict cleaning requirements and mandatory social distancing.

More than 8, restaurants have set up outdoor dining operations, Mr. de Blasio said. The city will close off an additional 600 blocks to allow even more dining capacity, the mayor said, and extend the use of sidewalks and streets for outdoor dining through Oct. .

“A lot of people thought that ‘How could this place, this crowded, energetic place, possibly do shelter in place or social distancing or face coverings? ‘”said Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat. “Well, you proved to the world it could be done the right way, and that’s why we are now on the verge of Phase 4.”

Troy Closson contributed reporting .

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