Lockdown restrictions on New York City are set to ease even further next week.
At a press conference on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would begin the second phase of reopening on Monday, when workers will be permitted to return to offices and nonessential businesses — including restaurants and retailers — can open back up to customers.
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New York — which has been the hardest coronavirus-hit state in the country with more than 30,900 deaths — entered the first stage of reopening on June 8, when it allowed construction and manufacturing to resume, as well as gave retailers the green light to open for curbside pickup and contactless services.
Starting Monday, stores will be able to allow in shoppers, albeit with capacity limits, and require face coverings for employees. (Customers might also be asked to wear masks.) Although malls will remain closed, stores at shopping centers with external entrances can resume operations. Offices, on the other hand, can operate at 50% of their maximum capacity and must enforce social-distancing guidelines.
What’s more, beauty salons and barber shops are expected to reopen their doors, while restaurants and bars can offer outdoor dining. New Yorkers will also be able to visit local playgrounds, which will be monitored by city officials for overcrowding.
In mid-March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo enacted the “NY on PAUSE” executive order that led all nonessential businesses, schools and offices to shut down in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Over the past few weeks, since government-mandated lockdowns have eased, some retailers in the city have opened up shop for appointment-based shopping or sidewalk fittings. An increasing number of chains have also outfitted their stores with hand-sanitizing stations and plexiglass barriers at cash registers, as well as equipped associates with personal protective equipment to make shopping safer for workers and customers.