De Blasio, Cuomo target June 8 for first phase of New York City reopening

The city is on track to meet all of the state’s metrics needed to begin relaxing its stay-at-home order.

5/30/2020 5:10:00 AM

New York City will take its first step on a long road to economic recovery with an initial reopening targeted for June 8

The city is on track to meet all of the state’s metrics needed to begin relaxing its stay-at-home order.

NEW YORK — New York City will take its first step on a long road to economic recovery with an initial reopening targeted for June 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday in a rare joint appearance.The city is on track to meet all of the state’s metrics needed to begin relaxing its stay-at-home order, which include lower rates of infection, adequate hospital capacity and a minimum number of contact tracers to track the disease's spread. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is also preparing for an influx of workers — phase one is expected to bring 400,000 more New Yorkers back to work in a spate of industries.

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Advertisement“We think all of this can be done next week,” Cuomo said. “And we would be on track to open the week afterward.”Industries slated for the first phase of the restart include all construction sites; clothing, electronics, furniture, machinery, printing and textile manufacturing; wholesalers for chemical products, household appliances, apparel and metals; and stores selling office supplies, clothing, electronics, furniture and sporting goods. Regular retail stores will only be allowed to offer curbside or in-store pickup.

At a press briefing just hours earlier, de Blasio declined to give a specific reopening date, though he insisted he was on the same page as the governor.“If you’re a business owner, you know right now if you’re in those categories for phase one. But get ready, and then you’ll get the announcement that it’s time to go,” the mayor said. “But we’re just not going to give that announcement until we know we’re ready to go, and I know the state feels the same way and we’re coordinating closely.”

The mayor and governor havethroughout the pandemic, with the Cuomo administration withholding Covid-19 data from City Hall and adopting programmatic responses after dismissing de Blasio for suggesting the same thing.But with the state andcity budgets in free fall

amid a frozen economy, both share a desire to get the city up and running again. The two men praised each other's leadership as they appeared together Friday."Thank you to your whole team for the extraordinary work that has happened over these last months and as you’ve said our teams talk all day long with a lot of common purpose," de Blasio said Friday. "We’ve done really important work with the same strategic view, the same approach."

Despite the comity, de Blasio and the MTA, which is controlled by Cuomo, sparred earlier in the day over the authority's plan to accommodate the influx of workers come June.The mayor has faulted the agency for a lack of planning, arguing it’s up to the MTA to come up with solutions for the sprawling network of buses and subways that it controls.

“There was a meeting yesterday with the MTA. We’re still not getting the answers we need from the MTA,” de Blasio said earlier in the day Friday, adding he would be speaking to MTA Chair Pat Foye later in the day.That response was met with criticism from Sarah Feinberg, the interim head of the city transit authority, who said the MTA has been relaying the relevant information.

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“With all due respect. We have no idea what the mayor is talking about,” Feinberg said in a Friday tweet. “The MTA has briefed City Hall multiple times on reopening, including another productive meeting held just yesterday. If the Mayor has questions, he can pick up the phone and call us at any time.”

But there still isn’t a public plan from either the MTA or the city for the expected influx of commuters.The mayor said he expects more New Yorkers will rely on cars in the weeks ahead, though most residents don’t own a personal vehicle and the use of for-hire vehicles is considerably more expensive than taking mass transit.

“The fact is, if that’s not something people are comfortable doing and they have the option of driving, they’re going to drive,” de Blasio said. “We’re going to look at any and other ways we can help and support people but there are things we can do and some things we can’t do."

Cuomo also announced Friday that five upstate regions have been authorized to reopen a second tranche of businesses after keeping coronavirus infection and hospitalization rates low during their initial restart period. Those reopenings include hair stylists, barbers, real estate agents and most retail stores, though they will be required to take a series of precautions to stem the disease's spread.

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