NYC Enters Final Phase in Road to Reopening

By Stefano Tromba
July 21, 2020

It’s here! The last phase in the march toward recovery from the pandemic that just 90 days ago killed hundreds and infected thousands in New York City each day. Much of the outlining areas of the state have been in Phase 4 for weeks now, but getting to Phase 4 in a city as large and bustling as New York, is an epic achievement.

Last Friday, Gov. Cuomo called Phase 4 a “hallmark.” Adding, “there are no more phases,”. “We are all in the final phase of reopening. And that’s great.” While no can argue this tremendous success, New York City is still far away from what normal felt like pre-COVID-19. State officials have taken a warning from other states who are now facing the consequences of relaxing restrictions and opening up too soon.

So, now that we’re in Phase 4, here’s a breakdown of what has and hasn’t changed.

What Phase 4 Looks Like

Many cultural venues, like zoos and botanical gardens, can open for outdoor activities at 33% of their original total capacity. This includes four city zoos and the New York Botanical Garden who announced the opening to the public by the end of July.  Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden will open to the public sometime in August.

Pro sports are back! Well, sorta. The players are back, but fans won’t be.  The city has also given the OK for production companies to film, shoot movies, television programs within the city.  And just as in previous phases, outdoor dining, hair and nail salons are open with mandated social distancing practices and face mask usage.

What’s Not Opening

Indoor dining is still on hold. Originally, it was allowed under Phase 3, but officials have linked the reopening of indoor dining — and indoor bars — to large outbreaks seen in other states.  As a matter of fact, restrictions have gotten even more rigid.  Officials last week banned the sale of alcohol to customers who don’t buy food as well, as a way to limit crowds of outdoor drinkers.

What’s Next

There is no clear timeframe on when and how these venues may re-open.  Governor Cuomo made it clear that the state is bracing and well prepared for a potential second wave. However, as of now, New Yorkers can give themselves a well-deserved, pat on the back, for taking the precautions necessary to get us here!

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