New York Plans For Economic Reopening, As Cuomo Says It’s “Complicated” While De Blasio Talks Transformation

Reopening the coronavirus epicenter of New York state is going to be tricky, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday. The needs of the downstate and dense cities are far different than the rural upstate locations.

But the governor offered a rough roadmap on how he’ll navigate the issue, and said some businesses in the state could open by mid-May.

Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed his wife to a task force focused on racial inclusion and equity. When the city reopens, de Blasio said he wants a “better and more just society than the one we left behind.”

The Mayor’s wife is a controversial choice. Her city-funded Thrive mental health organization has been accused of blowing through a billion dollars without much in the way of accomplishments or transparency in its dealings. It is unclear if this new position is voluntary or comes with a stipend or a budget.

Cuomo said construction and manufacturing may be able to resume in certain regions of the state after May 15. That’s the date when his statewide shutdown order expires.

The trigger for reopening are the number of hospitalizations, the results of antibody testing, and the overall number of infections in the state. Cuomo said if the less-densely populated regions have 14 consecutive days of declining hospitalization numbers heading into May 15, they may be headed toward reopening.

“Phase one of reopening will involve construction and manufacturing activities, and within construction and manufacturing, those businesses that have a low risk,” said Cuomo.

Once reopened, the state will keep a close watch on things to see if any flare-ups of the disease occur. “Phase two would then be more a business-by-business analysis,” said Cuomo, saying which businesses would open would be a matter of “how essential a service does that business provide, and how risky is that business.”

New York City and its near suburbs will likely be among the last areas to be given clearance, Cuomo indicated.

“Downstate New York is going to be more complicated,” he said. “You can’t do anything in New York City that you don’t do in Suffolk, you don’t do in Nassau, you don’t do in Westchester.”

Bill de Blasio said in his Sunday comments that working groups will start meeting in days to plan the reopening. The pandemic has highlighted the “many things that are broken in our city and in our country,” he added. “We don’t just need a recovery, we need a transformation.”

The mayor declined to estimate a timeline for fully reopening New York City.

 

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