New York City

NYC Set for Phase I Reopening as Cuomo OKs Outdoor Graduations

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What to Know

  • NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo says schools can hold outdoor graduations starting June 26, but capped at 150 people
  • House of worship in NY will be able to open to 25% occupancy in Phase II; New York City will enter Phase I of reopening on Monday
  • New York, New Jersey and Connecticut topped 40,000 coronavirus deaths this week. Officials acknowledge the actual toll is likely much higher

UPDATE: 'We're Back:' New York City Reopens 100 Days After Its 1st COVID Case, Months of Tragedy

Some 400,000 workers are expected back in New York City on Monday as the region reopens after more than three months since its first reported case of the coronavirus.

As the city braces for a slow return to pre-pandemic normalcy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is telling other regions to ready for Phase II, saying that Hudson Valley and Long Island regions would reach the next phase this week, Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Social distanced outdoor graduations will be allowed as of June 26, Cuomo said. All graduations must be capped at 150 people and adhere to social distancing.

Following more than a week of daily protests in New York City, the governor announced 15 additional COVID-19 testing sites dedicated to protesters. “I would act as if you were exposed, and I would tell people you are interacting with, assume I am positive for the virus,” Cuomo said.

The city is expected to perform 35,000 tests per day while officials closely monitor the success of Phase I.

Forty-five more deaths were added to New York State's death toll from Saturday. Of the 60,435 tests given Saturday, roughly 1 percent tested positive, Cuomo said.

At his own briefing Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio repeated his belief the city could be ready for Phase II by July.

"I want to keep expectations a little lower than that," de Blasio said. Most other regions of the state have been ready within two weeks of starting Phase I, but de Blasio cautioned against setting an expectation around the end of June in case reopening does not go smoothly.

Late Sunday, he announced over Twitter that alternate side parking would be canceled from June 8 until June 26.

New York City Entering Phase I

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a new mobile COVID testing program Friday that will bring tests to New Yorkers' own front doors as he laid out new rules for construction sites ahead of the city's reopening, now two days away.

Up to 400,000 people are expected to return to work in Phase I. Many of those employees will return to a transit system that's seen a 90 percent drop in ridership over the course of the pandemic and faces questions on how to maintain social distancing. The MTA installed new, no-touch payment scanners in half its subway stations to help prevent some contact, and is asking City Hall for 60 miles of priority bus lanes in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Staten Island.

As part of Phase 1 of reopening, construction will also be allowed to resume — and the city's Department of Buildings released guidance on how those more than 33,000 sites should re-open. Social distancing protocols should be followed, and masks should be worn on sites. There will also be updated logs for cleaning and disinfecting, capacity limits for small areas and other precautions taken to enhance health

The mayor expects hundreds of thousands more to return when the city enters Phase II, which he said Thursday could happen in early July. He has already laid out an outdoor dining plan to help restaurants prepare for that next step.

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