On Wednesday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York City will enter phase three of the state’s reopening plan this coming Monday, July 6th. This announcement comes after the city’s phase one and phase two reopening in June, which saw the reopening of many New York businesses including restaurants for outdoor dining. Phase three’s openings will not be as robust as the other phases, but still represents the city’s ongoing efforts to bring normalcy back to New York City during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
While phase two saw the reopening of many different kinds of businesses (including outdoor dining at bars and restaurants, in-person retail, hair salons, and barbershops), phase three will only bring about the return of one category: personal care. This applies to all non-hair-related personal care services, including tattoo and piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, spas, cosmetology, nail speciality, UV and non-UV tanning, or waxing.
NYC’s new combined Open Restaurants and Open Streets in effect on Doyers Street this weekend.
Indoor dining, however, will not return during phase three, even though it was originally slated to do so in the state’s initial reopening plan. This change was announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday after the resurgence of COVID-19 in other states raised concerns about the prospects of indoor dining. States such as Texas, Florida, and California have recently changed their reopening plans as more people have become sick. Many critics cite indoor dining and crowded bars as a major factor in the public health failure because patrons ten to leave less room to socially distance.
“Indoors is the problem, the science is showing it more and more,” the Mayor. “We cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining in New York City. Even a week ago we were hopeful we could but it keeps getting worse and worse around the country.” While indoor dining plans are on hold, the city has combined its Open Streets and Open Restaurants and opened 22 new Open Streets with extended outdoor seating areas on July 1st. The NYC Department of Transportation will continue taking applications from restaurant owners who want to open outdoor dining space. According to the mayor, 6,100 eateries have applied and opened dining outside since the city entered phase two. The resumption of indoor dining has no planned return date as of yet. Sadly, numerous New York City restaurants have closed their doors for good during the pandemic.
Dog runs will reopen in phase 3
Additionally, NYC Parks is also reopening dog runs, basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts, handball courts and bocce courts. The city’s public libraries are also planned to reopen next week, but based of a grab and go model that will prevent people from staying in the libraries for long periods of time.
Many New York City institutions will still be closed during phase three, including movie theaters, Broadway, museums, gyms, event venues, amusement parks such as Coney Island, and colleges and universities. Some of these are slated to reopen in approximately two weeks during phase four. Broadway, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and some other storied institutions with large-scale performances are planning to remain closed until at least January 2021. The subway will also continue to remain closed overnight from 1 AM to 5 AM for daily cleanings. Masks are mandatory for all riders and employees, and new vending machines for masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE have been deployed in the subway system.
Though phase three reopening is another step forward for New York City, Governor Cuomo remained cautious in his recent press briefings, warning that “our actions today determine our numbers tomorrow…I strongly urge everyone to closely follow state guidance on safe practices and local governments to enforce that guidance. Being New York tough means being New York smart: wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing.”