New York City, the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, is likely to stay closed until June, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said, even as three regions of New York State are set to reopen on May 15.
New York has been recording a decline in daily hospitalisations, ICU admissions and fatalities but the mayor said such progress must continue further before officials consider reopening the city.
“On the reopening, we’re clearly not ready yet. So I think it’s fair to say that June is when we are potentially going to be able to make some real changes, if we can continue our progress,” Mayor Blasio said at his daily press briefing on Monday.
He said that by the end of May or the beginning of June is when one will be “able to start filling in the blanks.”
Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that three regions — Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions — have met the seven metrics required to begin phase 1 of the state’s regional phased reopening plan when ‘New York State on pause orders expire’ on May 15.
Cuomo said if the trend continues, starting on May 15 these three regions can begin opening businesses for phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain, retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup, and agriculture, forestry and fishing.
The North Country and Central NY regions have met six of the seven metrics and could be ready at the end of the week, he said.
Certain low-risk business and recreational activities will be ready to reopen statewide on May 15, including landscaping and gardening; outdoor, low-risk recreational activities such as tennis; and drive-in movie theatres.
“We are starting a new chapter in the fight against this virus — we’ve worked together as a state to flatten the curve and the decline has finally reached a point where it is just about where we started this journey, so now we can turn to reopening,” Cuomo said at the daily press briefing.
“As we approach May 15, we have put regional control rooms in place, which are made up of the top government officials and academic and healthcare professionals in that region, to watch the situation in each region develop and increase or decrease the activity and speed of reopening based on the metrics and guidelines.
“These control rooms are critical because we just made it over the mountain and nobody wants to go back to the other side now,” the governor said.
Members of the regional control rooms will monitor regional metrics during the reopening process.
These regional control rooms will monitor the hospitalisation rate, death rate, number of new hospitalisations, hospital bed capacity, ICU bed capacity, testing and contact tracing within its region during reopening and alert the state if the region’s metrics no longer meet the reopening guidelines and adjust the reopening plan for that region accordingly.
New York state has 3,37,055 confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 26,000 people dying from the disease. New York City alone has 1,83,662 cases and 14,928 deaths.