New York City could soon reopen — maybe. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that the five boroughs are on track to enter Phase Two of the state’s reopening process, which allows for outdoor dining at restaurants, as soon as this coming Monday. But there are many mixed signals out there, including from Cuomo himself. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says that when the city can enter Phase Two will depend on the impact of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. (New York City hasn’t seen a spike in coronavirus cases since the protests, and in Seattle fewer than one percent of protesters who got tested were positive for the coronavirus.) Many New York restaurants have already put out seating for customers, despite the city being in Phase One. And over the weekend, crowds outside restaurants prompted Cuomo to say that the city’s reopening could be reversed.
According to de Blasio, who was tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the city may not enter Phase Two until early July. De Blasio also expressed particular concern about reopening playgrounds, saying that “if folks act prematurely and that causes the disease to start spreading again, that’s the kind of thing that will undermine our ability to get to Phase Two and stay in Phase Two.”
No matter what happens, all signs point to a return to business that will not go smoothly for restaurants, both because of their crowded environments and the behavior of guests who might not take the necessary preventative measures. Texas has seen a spike in cases linked to young people rushing to go back to bars, and yesterday it was one of nine states to report record single-day highs or seven-day averages for coronavirus cases.