New York City is on track to begin ‘phase one’ reopening on June 8, Gov. Cuomo says

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New York City, closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, is expected to begin a “phase one” reopening on June 8, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

“We know where the hot spots are in the city, we want to focus on them next week, be ready to open,” Cuomo said during a news conference in New Rochelle, New York. “We’re on track to open on June 8, which is one week from Monday.”

The Long Island and Mid-Hudson regions began their phase one reopening this week, leaving New York City the only region in the state to remain under Cuomo’s full stay-at-home order.

The governor said Friday that the phase one reopening in New York City should bring about 400,000 employees back to work.

Cuomo cautioned against too much excitement about reopening, saying, “this is not ‘happy days again, this is over.’ We have to be smart.”

“Remember that reopening does not mean we’re going back to the way things were. Life is not about going back nobody goes back, we go forward,” he said. 

New York state is the hardest-hit region in the U.S. The coronavirus, which emerged in Wuhan, China, less than five months ago, has infected more than 366,000 people across the state, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Cuomo also released guidance for barbershops and salons, which have been closed as part of social distancing measures intended to curb the spread of the virus. They will be required to a 50% maximum capacity and employees interacting with customers will need to be tested at least once every two weeks, he said. 

Earlier this week, Cuomo said tracking certain ZIP codes with a high number of Covid-19 cases would be key to reopening. The rate of positive test results in some communities in the state is at 40%, double the infection rate of New York City, he reiterated Friday.

New York had started to deploy its phased reopening plan in regions of the state that have met seven health criteria. Cuomo has warned regions to “watch their numbers,” saying, “when you have a cluster of cases, jump on it.”

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