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NYC to enter reopening phase 4 on Monday

IANS | July 18, 2020 10:37 AM

NEW YORK:New York City will enter phase four of reopening on Monday as scheduled, but without resuming additional indoor activities, officials confirmed.
In phase four, lower risk outdoor arts and entertainment activities can resume, including television and film production, reports Xinhua news agency.

Botanical gardens and zoos can reopen at 33 per cent capacity, and professional sports can resume without spectators, according to New York state's phased reopening plan.

Malls and museums, which are allowed to reopen in other regions of the state in phase four, will however, remain shut in New York City due to officials' concerns about the heightened risk of infection spread.

"New York City will enter phase four on Monday. That is a hallmark for us. Every region of the state will now be in phase four, " said New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday.

"So we are all in the final phase of reopening. And that's great. Every region has made it through the four phases without having to close. And the numbers are consistent through all phases of reopening, " he added.

Earlier this week, Cuomo announced new, data-driven guidance on reopening schools in phase four, which mandates that schools can reopen only when the region's daily infection rate remains below 5 per cent, using a 14-day average.

Schools will close if the regional infection rate rises above 9 per cent, using a seven-day average, after August 1, said the governor.

As the resumption of indoor dining has been postponed indefinitely, New York City launched the Open Restaurants program earlier this month.

On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio extended the program until the end of October.

Some 9, 000 restaurants citywide have participated in the program serving customers in outdoor spaces during weekends.

The National Park Service announced last week that the Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty is located would reopen as the city enters phase four.

The outdoor spaces on Liberty Island will be open to the public, but the interior of the statue and the museum will remain closed, according to the state government.

The Empire State Building Observatory is also set to reopen on Monday, and capacity will be limited to 60 per cent on the 86th and 102nd floors.

As dozens of states in the country are experiencing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, New York's infection rate remains low at 0.99 per cent, according to the Governor.

However, he urged New Yorkers to stay on high alert as the virus is still spreading across the country and it will eventually have an effect on New York.

"We're trying everything we can ... but the virus will still get through the border, the only question is to what per cent, " he said.

"And that's what we're looking at -- the inevitability of a second wave, the only question is how hard this hits."

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