Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio on Thursday, May 28, 2020, announced policy framework for the first reopening of the United States’ (US) most populous city and the also the key epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. The highly-contiguous COVID-19 has killed more than 20,000 of New Yorkers out of over 8 million people at the same time as many as 400,000 people have started heading back to their workplaces due to the slowdown of new virus cases.
New York’s Preparation for Reopening Lockdown
De Blasio said on Thursday that he expected the first phase reopening of the coronavirus lockdown, which imposed since March, to be officially announced by the second week of June and the plan would focus on four sectors: construction, manufacturing, wholesale suppliers, and non-essential retail. He said at a daily briefing, “We’re now actually in a position to start talking about opening things up, step by step, phase by phase.”
Sources reported that the city’s restaurants and bars would remain shut, except for takeout and delivery while the City Council unveiled legislation to allow outdoor dining to help refueling the economic wheel of the state. Sean Pearson, beverage manager at popular Mexican eatery La Esquina’s Soho location, stated that the opening of outdoor spaces would be a lifeline for the survival of many small restaurants.
Pearson said in a phone interview, “It might be one of the only ways that they can recoup the revenue that’s been lost throughout this whole thing,” adding that “I think as long as tables are at an appropriate distance and crowds are managed and maintained and … the level of cleanliness is upheld, I think it’s totally fine.”
Council Speaker Criticized Mayor’s Slow Plans
The new move of the Mayor was announced since the number of the patients for hospitalization and death toll trending had sharply declined across the state of New York, earlier all regions except the city have decided to begin the process of restarting their economies. As the city delayed reopening its economic activities, Council Speaker Corey Johnson criticized Blasio for his slow response to other cities in repurposing outdoor spaces.
Johnson asserted in a news conference, “New York will not be New York if we do not have restaurants and bars and an enlivened streetscape,” adding that “If Cincinnati can do this, no offense to Cincinnati, New York City can do it.” In a response, Blasio said although outdoor dining was considered to be part of reopening but would not be included in the first of the four phases in the state’s plan.
Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, a trade group supporting the City Council legislation, said in an interview that restaurants were facing the struggle to make much of a profit even all seats were filled. Melba Wilson, the owner of Melba’s Restaurant in Manhattan’s famed Harlem neighborhood, said at the news conference on the legislation, “We have to remember that New York City is the hospitality capital of the world,” “We cannot be followers on this front; we have to be leaders.”
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