New York City 'on track' to begin reopening week of June 8: governor
New York, the US city worst-hit by the coronavirus, is "on track" to start reopening the week of June 8, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
The financial capital of eight million people, where COVID-19 has killed around 21,500, is close to meeting seven metrics that will allow it to slowly emerge from its lockdown of more than two months, Cuomo said.
"We will stay on track by focusing on the hotspots," the governor tweeted.
New York City has already met guidelines surrounding falling deaths and declining hospitalizations and is expected to meet criteria concerning hospital and testing capacity next week, Cuomo told reporters.
That would see the city start to permit curbside retail, wholesale trade, manufacturing and construction from the second week of June as the first part of a phased reopening plan.
"We are on the threshold of the next big step," Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters.
Cuomo said phase one will allow around 400,000 New Yorkers to return to work.
Restaurants and bars will not be allowed to open until phase three while the fourth and final phase will permit entertainment venues, including theaters and museums, to restart operations.
Two weeks is expected to pass between each phase, providing there is not an uptick in infections.
The governor has warned that parts of the state could be shut down again if the reopening sparks a second wave of cases.
Cuomo ordered all non-essential businesses closed from March 22 as New York state quickly found itself at the epicenter of America's deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Around 800 New York state residents were dying each day at the peak of the crisis in early April, the vast majority of them in the Big Apple.
Cuomo said Friday the death toll of 67 for the past 24 hours was the lowest single-day toll since the crisis began.
New York City is the last of New York's ten regions to begin reopening, with some ready to enter phase two this weekend.
New York state accounts for almost a third of America's 102,000 COVID-19 deaths, with close to 30,000 residents losing their lives to the virus.
© 2020 AFP