What to know about New York City’s reopening

Mayor de Blasio handing out face masks in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on May 16, 2020.
Mayor de Blasio handing out face masks in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on May 16, 2020.
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor de Blasio handing out face masks in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on May 16, 2020.

What to know about New York City’s reopening

The city has met four of the state’s reopening metrics and could be ready to reopen in June.
May 19, 2020

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he feels confident that the city could begin to reopen in a few weeks.

“You can’t guarantee anything in life, but if you’re watching the trend lines … both on our city indicators and the state indicators, both will align in the first half of June,” the mayor said during a press conference Monday.

As of May 18, the city had met four of the state’s seven requirements to begin reopening, such as 14-day decreases in hospitalizations and deaths. It met the fourth criteria on Monday, when new hospitalizations fell under 2 per 100,000 residents. However, it still has three other metrics it needs to meet before it can begin to lift the stay-at-home restrictions. De Blasio has said that the city is making progress and will err on the side of caution.

The city’s eventual reopening will ultimately be up to the city’s Regional Control Room, which is in charge of deciding when it is safe for the region to reopen and when it should close if a new outbreak occurs.

We’ve answered your most pressing questions about the city’s reopening, so you know what to expect.

When will New York City reopen?

According to de Blasio, the city will most likely meet all seven metrics needed to reopen in the first half of June.

On May 14, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the end of the state’s stay-at-home order for the city and its surrounding suburbs from May 15 to June 13. De Blasio is likely hoping to meet the criteria by that date.

What are the reopening criteria?

The state has seven metrics that must be met before a region may enter into the first phase of reopening:

  • A decrease in hospitalizations over a 14-day period, or under 15 new hospitalizations over an average of three days.
  • A decrease in deaths over a 14-day period, or fewer than five deaths over an average of three days.
  • At least 30% of hospital beds available within the region.
  • At least 30% intensive care unit beds available within the region.
  • A decline in new hospitalizations, under 2 per 100,000 residents over a rolling three-day period.
  • The capacity to run 30 COVID-19 tests per 1,000 residents.
  • 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents.

So far, the city has seen a decrease in hospitalizations and deaths, reached the testing capacity required by the state and has seen a decline in new hospitalizations.

What will and won’t reopen?

If the city is approved to reopen in June, it will enter phase one of the state’s reopening plan, which will allow construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chain companies to resume their operations. Retail stores may also reopen for curbside pickup.

But don’t expect much more to change beyond that, as de Blasio said on Monday, city residents should get used to working from home.

Who is a part of the city’s Regional Control Room?

The city’s regional control group, which will determine when the city can begin to reopen, is being led by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado.

The other committee members are de Blasio, Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership for New York City, New York City Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo.

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is City & State's web reporter and social media editor.
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