Officials consider adjusting Phase 3 reopening plans

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a styrofoam mountain Monday representing the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York state.
Photo by Mark Hallum

Phase 3 of reopening could begin as early as July 6 in New York City, but elected officials are looking at scaling back some of city’s reopening plans as the phase draws nearer.

Under the original plans for Phase 3, restaurants could open indoor seating at 50-percent capacity and personal care businesses, such as nail salons and tattoo parlors, could reopen while practicing social distancing. However, the city and state are re-examining whether it’s safe to reopen indoor dining, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday morning. 

“The indoor dining piece is one component we want to study, but we are on track for Phase 3,” Gov. Cuomo said on Monday. 

Cuomo said that restaurants could install MERV rating air filters in air conditioning units, which capture the coronavirus particles, to make indoor dining safer. 

“The filters, I think, can make a considerable difference,” Cuomo said. 

Out-of-state visitors may also cause a spike in coronavirus cases, since they may carry the virus from states suffering outbreaks, Cuomo said. To reduce the risk of transmission, Cuomo implored President Donald Trump to issue an executive order mandating the use of face masks across the country.

“The president doesn’t have to pass legislation, he just has to sign an executive order directing everyone to wear masks,” Cuomo said during his Monday morning press conference. “Let the president lead by example and put a mask on it.”

Cuomo pointed to New York as an example of the importance of masks and increased testing, and boasted that New York City, once the epicenter of the epidemic, now has an infection rate of about 1-percent as of Sunday.

At the press conference, Cuomo also unveiled a styrofoam sculpture that illustrates the outbreak’s progression throughout the state. At its peak, the state suffered more than 700 deaths per day until day 111, when the death toll dropped.

“This is the mountain New Yorkers climbed,” the governor said. “We started at Day 1, and the numbers kept going straight up for 42 days.” 

As of June 28, 853 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized statewide. 

This article first appeared on AMNY.com