New York City had between 200,000 and 400,000 people return to work Monday as the city began to re-open after three months of coronavirus lockdown, the effects of which have been compounded by protests over police brutality. Construction, manufacturing, wholesalers, and retailers previously deemed “nonessential” can resume work, albeit with many restrictions. Retailers can reopen for delivery and pickup, though customers can’t yet browse inside.
“Why are we reopening? Because these numbers say we can,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during Monday’s daily press briefing. “We are not out of the woods. But we are on the other side.” Cuomo added that to ensure New York City stays on track, the city will be conducting 35,000 tests per day. He also urged residents who have participated in protests over the death of George Floyd to get tested for the coronavirus.
The MTA has installed new, no-touch payment scanners in half of its subway stations to help prevent contact. Schools can still not hold outdoor graduations, however, with such ceremonies unlikely to start before June 26, when attendance will be capped at 150 people. At its peak in April, COVID-19 was killing more than 500 people a day in New York City, and the disease has killed at least 15,900 people in the city in all. Daily death numbers are still in the double digits.
Cuomo also announced Monday his plan to sign a series of reform bills expected to be passed by the legislature this week that would institute a state-wide ban on police chokeholds and set up a system for an automatic appointment of a special prosecutor in any questionable shootings involving police. The bills would also make it a crime to make racially biased 911 calls.