Cuomo, De Blasio at odds over NYC entering Phase Two of reopening

New York City is on track to open more businesses and could enter the second phase of reopening Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, but Mayor Bill de Blasio said that such a date is not definite.

"It's a day-to-day discussion," De Blasio said. "We want to come to a decision with the state as quickly as possible."

Phase Two would mean being able to sit outside at a restaurant and eat once again, in-store retail shopping, car dealerships beginning operations, and hair salons, barbershops, and offices all reopening, all with reduced capacity.

De Blasio says that no decision has been made on reopening Monday as officials wait to see if there is a spike in coronavirus cases after the recent protests over the death of George Floyd.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said the state Department of Health reported 17 coronavirus-related deaths in hospitals and nursing homes Tuesday. He also pointed to the gradual decline in rates of individuals testing positive: fewer than 1% of results for roughly 60,000 individuals tested Tuesday for COVID-19 were positive.

"This is one of the best days for New York since we have started this long journey into a dark night,” Cuomo said.

The official coronavirus death toll includes at least 24,600 statewide and at least an additional 2,600 deaths in New York City, though officials have said the actual death toll is likely much higher. The number of deaths reported each day by state hospitals and nursing homes reached a peak of at least 800 in April.

Cuomo has urged New Yorkers to keep wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines despite the gradual reopening. And he warned that he could reimpose restrictions if residents fail to follow those rules.

“New York City, do what every other region has done so far,” Cuomo said.

“Local governments have to be responsible and do their job,” he added.

Still, Cuomo said Wednesday that the state's data suggests the virus is not spreading at an unmanageable rate in New York City, which has been boosting testing and setting up contact tracing programs along with the rest of the state.

New York has now tested over 3 million people for COVID-19, and more than 385,100 — about 12% — have tested positive.

Cuomo has divided the state up into 10 regions that have all begun to lift some restrictions on businesses and communities imposed in March to prevent a catastrophic surge in hospitalizations.

With the Associated Press.


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