Even as other cities around the country are being forced to backtrack on reopening measures and reinstitute quarantine measures, New York City is pushing ahead to Phase 4 of its state’s reopening plan.
In fact, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday, July 17 that New York City finally has approval to enter Phase 4 on Monday, July 20 with certain limitations. What will life look like in NYC as Phase 4 begins? Here’s what you should know.
Phase 4 Guidelines
During Phase 4, low-risk outdoor activities, such as zoos and botanical gardens, can reopen at 33% capacity. Also included in Phase’s 4 reopening list are film and television productions and sporting events without fans. Tourists can look forward to a partial reopening of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Bars and restaurants face tightened regulations in Phase 4 as well, which forbids all interior dining. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently instituted a “three strikes, you’re closed” rule. Owners must enforce mask wearing and make customers stand six feet apart. If a business is caught breaking one of the rules or failing to enforce customer behavior, it receives a strike. After three strikes the business is forced to close its doors.
However, to make it easier for restaurants to accommodate customers outside, Mayor de Blasio created the New York City’s Open Streets: Restaurants program. This program closes down certain city blocks to allow restaurants access to outdoor dining space. Mayor de Blasio just added 40 more blocks of streets to the program, the majority of which are located in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Two locations notably missing from New York City’s long awaited Phase 4 transition are malls and museums. According to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City is still too high risk of an area to allow such close-quarters indoor activities.
Will Schools Reopen?
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced its guidelines on school reopenings won’t be released until the end of July. This leaves school districts in New York City and around the country wondering what the new academic year will bring.
“Now that we’ve gotten this far let’s hang onto it. Let’s stay focused. Let’s stay disciplined,” the mayor said Friday. “We’ve got to strike a balance, and we’ve got time — watch what’s happening around the city, watch what’s happening around the country, and we’ll do that working closely with the state of New York.”
Based on New York’s reopening guidelines, a region must be in Phase 4 and maintain a daily infection rate of 5 percent or lower over a 14-day rolling average in order for Governor Cuomo to consider the possibility of school reopening plans. At this time, most school districts appear to be preparing for a blend of in-person and remote learning in September, though Governor Cuomo will not make a decision until the first week of August.