After months of a devastating pandemic, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo took the New York City subway into midtown Manhattan today proclaiming, “New York is back!”. As of yesterday, the state has officially entered phase one of its re-opening process.

“Today we are turning the page on the COVID-19 virus as we reopen New York City – we didn’t just flatten the curve, we bent it, and we did it all based on data and facts,” Governor Cuomo said. “You look at where we are now with our testing results and we now have the lowest levels in the state since March 16th, and that’s why I have confidence saying to New Yorkers that we are ready to reopen. All this progress has been made because of our hard work, and we can’t get sloppy now, or else we’ll see those numbers start to go back up.”

Echoing the governor’s sentiment was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said, “this is a triumphant moment for New Yorkers who fought back against this disease”. “We were the epicenter and we got here only because New Yorkers went the extra mile.”

What Does Phase One Mean?

The first phase of the re-opening allows for up to 400,000+ people to return to workplaces. On Monday, transit officials were rolling out sweeping changes to protect public health; an estimated 300,000 riders are expected to return to public transportation during this first, initial phase.

This is the first of a four-step process that will see the gradually relaxing of restrictions on businesses along with people’s ability to move and socialize within the state. Advancing on phase 2 will depend on infection rates, hospital capacity, and the state’s ability to test and trace those who may have been infected with the virus. Regardless, each phase will last at least two weeks.

Some parts of New York that opened in mid-May have already entered phase two, as shown on this monitoring dashboard. New York City, the center of the outbreak in the U.S., is the last region to meet the requirements to start the re-opening process.

New York City Moving Forward

Phase Businesses reopening Notes Date
Phase 1 Construction, manufacturing, non-essential retail, and wholesale merchants. Retail is limited to delivery, curbside, and in-store pickup or drops off. June 8
Phase 2 Hair salons and barbershops, in-store retail, offices, professional services like finance and insurance, and outdoor dining. N/A
Phase 3 Restaurants and other food-service businesses open for dine-in service. New Yorkers will no longer be discouraged from using mass transit for non-essential trips. N/A
Phase 4 Schools, museums, cinemas, theaters, and other recreational businesses. Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. N/A

Cuomo told reporters, as he rode the subway today, showing residents it was safe to ride. He added,  “I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.”

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