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June 4, 2020, 6:08 p.m. EDT

New York City’s Phase 2—which includes outdoor dining—could happen in early July

Gov. Cuomo, meanwhile, says all protesters should be tested for coronavirus over concerns of a spike in cases

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By Liz Lucking 


AFP/Getty Images
Soon, more than just teddy bears with masks will be seen dining al fresco at this upper east side restaurant.

New York City could reach the second phase of its staggered reopening process, a step which now includes outdoor dining, as soon as early July, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday. 

Along with offering, for the first time, a time frame for the subsequent step in reopening, the mayor confirmed that the city’s Phase 1 of reopening will still commence on Monday, despite the continued citywide demonstrations, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has suggested may lead to a new spike of cases.

New York City has seen widespread and heavily attended protests against racial injustice and police brutality over the past week, following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in Minneapolis on May 25, when a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. 

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Cuomo cautioned on Thursday that the demonstrations, attended by tens of thousands statewide, could result in a spike in coronavirus infections and announced that he would expand the COVID-19 testing criteria to include any individuals who have attended any of the recent marches in New York. 

New York City enters Phase 1 Monday with all of this going on,” the governor said. “We have to be smart. The protesters themselves could end up causing a spike.”

Though acknowledging that many of the protesters wear masks or face coverings, “there’s no social distancing,” Cuomo said, noting that one person alone can infect hundreds, in a reminder of the highly contagious nature of the virus. 

“If you were at a protest, go get a test, please,” he said. “If you were at one of those protests, I would, out of an abundance of caution, assume that you are infected.” 

Despite the governor’s warnings, de Blasio remained resolute that Phase 1 would commence on Monday, and that Phase 2 could follow soon after. 

“If we all work together, Phase 1 can move on to Phase 2, and at this moment Phase 2 could start as early as the beginning of July,” the mayor said. “We want to keep moving forward, but it’s going to take an intensive focus on health and safety at every moment, in every business, in everything we do.”

Both the state and the city continue to see drastically improved data regarding the virus. 

In New York City, both the number of new hospital admissions for suspected COVID-19 and the number of people with the virus in ICUs remained below the recommended thresholds of 200 and 375 per day at 48 and 354, respectively, on Wednesday.

The percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the city fell to 3%, “the lowest number we have seen since this crisis began,” de Blasio said. 

Statewide, total hospitalizations were down and the number of deaths on Wednesday stood at 52, a little higher than the 49 that were logged on Tuesday, but still a significant contrast from the 799 deaths that were recorded in early April

In addition to allowing industries such as real estate and hair salons to resume, the second phase of reopening in New York, as of Thursday, now includes outdoor dining. Long Island will enter Phase 2 next Wednesday, the governor said. 

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