New York begins gradual ease of lockdown restrictions

 Tuesday, June 9, 2020 


After nearly three months of constant struggle with the deadly coronavirus pandemic and around two months of lockdown restrictions, New York has finally decided to lift lockdown measures and start gradual reopening of the region starting Monday, June 9. With nearly 22,000 deaths, New York was the hardest hit region by the COVID-19 in the U.S. The latest move comes approximately 100 days after the first case of coronavirus was detected in the area.

The decision was undertaken considering the current scenario that showcases a decreased curve of new coronavirus infections as compared to the past few months. The city’s death toll due to coronavirus came down to single digits in the first week of June and the daily rise in cases remained around 200-300, which can be considered an improvement as compared to the 6000 daily cases and 0ver 500 deaths on a day in April. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned that it is a victorious moment for all New Yorkers who fought against the numerous challenges posed by the coronavirus disease.

He said that NYC became the epicentre because New Yorkers went the extra mile. However, he also mentioned that the critical situation was handled and authorities could reach the point of reopening as people successfully observed social distancing and used face covering to maintain safety. He said that people need to maintain similar measures everywhere in order to continue moving forward. He also informed that safety agents will take up the responsibility of educating people on safety measures but New York Police Department will neither enforce social distancing nor demand the usage of face masks.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo officially announced that New York is back. He added that the present decision is not a form of reckless reopening as the process is taking place after latest data showcased that a reopening was possible. Although he also warned that if people across New York fail to maintain the required safety rules and the number of coronavirus cases increase back, the state might shut down once again. He also informed number of hospitalisations across the state came down to 702 in recent days from a recorded maximum of more than 18,800 cases during the peak. He said that authorities would keep a special eye on New York City to monitor the situation.

On Monday, around 400,000 workers are expected to return to work once again. Retails stores, factories and dormant construction sites have also been allowed to resume operations. Other stores previously deemed as non-essential have also been given the permission to reopen. As of now shops can only open for delivery and pickup but no crowd would be entertained inside. Manufactures and wholesalers are also allowed to resume activities. New York City had the highest employment record before the pandemic and the latest move would contribute to the state’s plan to restart its economy.

In addition, wearing of face masks and physical distancing is being encouraged while undertaking any kind of travel and accessing public transport. School safety agents have been deployed in busiest stations to hand out masks to subway commuters and give them gentle reminders about maintain a distance of six feet from one another. Subways are also being closed during the night for cleaning purposes. The city has also allotted several new bus lines to ease some of the congestion in the subways. NYC continues to be behind the rest of the state as other places has started embracing the second phase of ease of restriction with reopening of stores, hail salons and offices. However, strict restrictions on capacity and social distancing requirements are still very much in place and is expected to be a part of the ‘new normal’.

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