Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo confirmed on Monday that the Mid-Hudson region, which includes Westchester, is set to enter the second phase of the four-phase reopening program today.
Phase two allows all categories of office-based jobs to resume, resumption of real estate services, a return to in-store retail shopping and limited barbershop and hair salon services. Outdoor dining at restaurants also is permitted.
Cuomo this past Saturday separately announced that houses of worship can again welcome congregants, at 25% of the normal capacity, under phase two.
Cuomo said on June 8 that elective surgeries and ambulatory care can resume in New York City. The city entered the first phase of reopening today.
Cuomo said the state, in partnership with Northwell Health and SOMOS Community Care, is opening 14 temporary testing sites at churches in communities particularly impacted by COVID-19. He reminded New Yorkers who have participated in recent demonstrations related to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and were unable to maintain social distancing to get tested for COVID-19.
“Today we are turning the page on the COVID-19 virus as we reopen New York City. We didn’t just flatten the curve, we bent it, and we did it all based on data and facts,” Cuomo told a New York City news conference on Monday.
Cuomo said that on Sunday there were 58,054 tests for the virus administered across New York state and 702 were positive, a rate of only 1.2%, the lowest rate since March 16. He said that in the Mid-Hudson region, the positive testing rate was only 1% yesterday compared with 46% nine weeks ago.
He reported that the MTA is speeding up construction on $2 billion in capital projects during the period of reduced ridership caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He announced the launch of the “It’s Up to Us, New York” campaign on MTA buses and trains, social media and billboards. The campaign is designed to remind New Yorkers to do their part in the ongoing effort to combat the COVID-19 virus.
Cuomo said the state is providing the MTA with more than 1 million masks, as well as 25,000 gallons and 500,000 2-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer for reopening of New York City and the expected increase in ridership on mass transit.
Cuomo marked the city’s reopening by taking a ride on the subway. He rode the No. 7 train from Queens into Manhattan, saying, “If the subway isn’t safe for me, then I wouldn’t ask anyone else to go on the subway.”
Statewide there have been a total of 24,299 COVID-19 deaths, according to statistics obtained from the state Department of Health.
Deaths in Westchester now total 1,526, with 1,395 Westchester residents falling victim to the virus. The number of Rockland residents who died from the disease remained steady for a second day at 502. The number of Putnam residents killed by the virus is now 62. Orange County deaths total 387. The number of deaths in Dutchess County is 153.
New York has had 378,799 people test positive for the virus. There now have been a cumulative total of 34,000 cases identified in Westchester, 13,340 in Rockland, 1,279 in Putnam, 10,523 in Orange and 4,006 in Dutchess.