City to Enter Limited COVID Phase IV Reopening Monday

Mario's of Arthur Avenue is part of the outdoor dining district in the Bronx's Little Italy.
Alex Mitchell

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that New York City will enter Phase 4 of reopening on Monday, July 20.

“This is a hallmark for us, every region of the state will now be in Phase 4 so we are all in the final stage or reopening,” Cuomo told reporters via a conference call. “Every region has made it through the four phases without having to close. And the numbers are consistent through all phases of reopening and this what we said from day 1 — Reopen smart and if you reopen smart in phases and follow the data, it’s a better way for the economy to reopen.”

But Phase 4 in New York City comes with some ongoing limitations.  Malls, museums, and movie theaters will not reopen.

Indoor dining, malls, museums, cinemas still not back to normal

As part of Phase 4, botanical gardens and zoos can reopen but only at 33 percent of capacity. Movie and television show productions can also resume as well as professional sports but with no audiences.

New York City’s Phase 3 of reopening also included some constraints to prevent the spread of the virus, which personal care businesses like spa services, nail salons, tanning services, tattoo parlors, piercing shops, and waxing services returning.  Almost a week before the city entered Phase 3 on July 6, Cuomo and de Blasio broke the news that indoor dining would not be apart of the newest stage in reopening.

On Monday, indoor dining will still be off the table. But de Blasio announced on Friday that the city will extend its pandemic outdoor dining initiative, which allows restaurants to offer sit-down dining on sidewalks and street curbs, until October 31. In addition, he announced that 40 more blocks on 26 streets in neighborhoods including Manhattan’s Chinatown, Forest Hills in Queens, and University Heights in the Bronx will now bring the city to a total of 47 participating outdoor dining zones.

Participating restaurants — and there are at least 8,600 as of July 17 — will be able to serve customers from 5 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and from noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

“When the weather is good I think a lot of New Yorkers will be out enjoying this wonderful opportunity,” de Blasio told reporters. ” But do it the right way, follow the rules. Keep the distance as needed, wear those face coverings, help us keep moving forward.”

City Hall reported a slight uptick in possible coronavirus hospitalizations on Friday, stating that 75 people were admitted to one of the city’s public hospitals with suspected symptoms on July 15, but still far below the city’s limit of 200 for new infections that would trigger a slowdown in the reopening.

On that same day, the city reported 314 people were admitted to intensive care units for coronavirus-related complications and the number of New York City residents testing positive for the virus remains at two percent.

This story originally appeared on amny.com. To sign up for the Gay City News email newsletter, visit gaycitynews.com/newsletter.

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