By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
New York City is on track to enter Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan by July 6, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.
As part of Phase 3, nail salons, spas, tanning salons, and massage parlors can open, and indoor dining is allowed as long as restaurants maintain 50% capacity with tables and bar seats set six feet apart. Some sports may also resume during Phase 3.
De Blasio announced that courts and fields for volleyball, soccer, basketball, tennis, handball, and bocce along with dog runs will open if the city reaches Phase 3 within the next two weeks.
“We are going to be working closely with the state of New York to make the final decision as we get closer to but since it’s all about the data, the data is telling us yes right now so we want to start getting people ready for it,” said de Blasio during a press conference.
The city will issue more guidance for businesses reopening in Phase 3 beginning Friday, June 26, the mayor added. On Monday, the city entered Phase 2 of reopening. Between 150,000 to 300,000 people returned to the workforce as playgrounds, hair salons and barbershops opened and restaurants began offering outdoor dining.
As the city reopens, de Blasio said, COVID-19 cases continue to stay level citywide.
Public hospital admissions for suspected COVID-19 cases dropped to 60 on June 23, according to the mayor’s office, and the percentage of New Yorkers testing positive for the virus remains at 2%, well below the city’s emergency threshold.
The number of New York City residents admitted to intensive care units at public hospitals for coronavirus related complications increased slightly to 329 on June 23. The city’s designated threshold for ICU admittance numbers floats at just under 400.
“What has helped us push back this disease is, well it’s the first thing we have talked about since day one, testing, testing, testing,” said de Blasio.
De Blasio also announced SOMOS Community Care will launch 50 new testing sites and that CORE, a nonprofit initially founded by actor Sean Penn initially started to provide disaster relief after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, will send out mobile testing units beginning next week.
New York remains one of the few places in America not dealing with a COVID-19 spike at the present time. On June 24, 45,557 new infections were reported across the country, according to data from NBC News, breaking the previous record set on April 24 by almost 9,000.
The spike has mostly affected southern and western states with Arizona, Mississippi, California, Nevada, and Texas reporting single-day records of new cases on Tuesday.
Despite the nationwide uptick, de Blasio said that the city would forge and hope for the best.
“I’ve been very cautious. I’ve been very pleased with the fact that Phase 1 hundreds of thousands of people came back to work and we’ve seen almost no, knocking on wood, impact on our indicators,” de Blasio told reporters.