De Blasio on Thursday said NYC still isn’t ready to reopen but when it does, employers must operate at a 50% capacity and keep elevators to one person at a time
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo both dodged pressure to reopen on New York City again on Thursday and instead used their daily briefings to give guidelines on what social distancing in work will look like and trot out celebrities.
On Wednesday, just 59 people across the city were hospitalized with the virus and the number of daily deaths and new cases continues to decrease.
There is growing confusion over how the city and state are counting the numbers that are being used to determine when it is ‘safe’ to reopen.
The city has around 21,000 hospital beds and 30 percent need to be free. The state’s dashboard for monitoring reopening claims that only 26 percent are free – a decrease since Wednesday – which would mean some 15,000 beds are occupied.
But the total number of hospitalizations for the entire state on Wednesday was less than 5,000.
No one at the governor’s office had an explanation for the figure discrepancy on Thursday.
Both Cuomo and de Blasio say the city still isn’t ready to yet because of the lack of beds and lack of contact tracers. Of the 2,500 needed, only 1,700 have been hired. Every other region in the state was able to scramble together enough to meet their requirement.
Phase one, which lets manufacturing, construction and curbside retail resume, is likely to begin in the first or second week of June, de Blasio says, but he won’t give a firm date for it. Phase two – which won’t happen for at least two weeks after phase one – allows hair salons to reopen and lets office workers return to their jobs.
Cuomo was joined by Chris Rock and Rosie Perez at his press conference where the trio joked and complimented one another but where he did not give a New York City reopening date
The celebrities were there to encourage people to wear masks. They have formally partnered with the state and will appear in an ad about wearing masks and socially distancing
De Blasio said on Thursday that employers will have to operate at a 50 percent capacity, provide masks to their staff for free, and do health screenings like temperature checks or questionnaires. Only one person is allowed in a confined space at a time and that applies to elevators.
REOPENING RULES FOR EMPLOYERS
FREE MASKS FOR EMPLOYERS
EMPLOYEES STAY 6FT APART
1 PERSON TO A CONFINED SPACE – ELEVATORS / CASHIERS
There will be ‘random inspections’ to ensure businesses are complying with the rules. Until then, he will shut down any business that reopens without his permission. Hundreds of small business owners are reopening quietly and have been shut down by NYPD cops.
They have reopened once the cops left and some have even moved to different premises to avoid being caught.
They say it’s high time the city let people return to work with the numbers being so low.
In a lengthy rant on Thursday, De Blasio said: ‘Businesses don’t get to make up their own rules…’I know people are anxious and frustrated.
‘It is idiotic to try to open a business today that will be legally able to reopen in a week or two. How about waiting until it’s legal? If you don’t, you’re going to suffer the consequences.
‘The guidelines really are clear.
‘Businesses are not supposed to make up their own rules and jump the gun.
There were 74 deaths across the state on Wednesday which is among the lowest it ha been since the start of the pandemic
‘If someone thinks they get to make up the rules for everyone else I hate to inform them that’s not how it works in a democracy.
‘We are all in the middle of a pandemic – a health crisis. The only way we’ve gotten things better is by all sticking together. It’s working.
‘I’m not into free agents. people deciding that they get to make the rules and they can do something no one else can do.
‘Any business that attempts to open that should not yet be open , we’re going to go and tell them shut down right now.
‘If they ignore the instructions, that starts with a $1,000 fine and we’ll escalate from there. When phase one is formally declared, that’s when the next group of businesses can open. The bottom line is you don’t get to jump the gun.
‘We’re talking about phase 1 beginning in a week or two at this point I don’t think it’s too much to ask to wait to get the all clear,’ he ranted.
Hundreds are reopening and say they have done their part to flatten the curve but are now being held ‘prisoners’.
Shuttered businesses in Chinatown on May 17. The area has been completely wiped out by coronavirus
People gather in Bryant Park on May 24. Traffic lanes for pedestrians have been set up to avoid people being too close together
Among them is Sunbelievable, a tanning salon in Staten Island that is reopening on Thursday despite the rules.
De Blasio fumed that on Thursday that people had ‘earned their way to the gateway of phase one’ but that the city still was not ready to reopen.
Dozens of other states have reopened. Across the country, there has been a spike in cases but nowhere has locked down like New York City did when it was the undoubted epicenter of the US.
On Wednesday, the grim national death toll reached 100,000. Research modelers have reduced their predictions in recent weeks and now say it’s likely 140,000 will die by August.
Staten Island tanning salon is shut down by the NYPD after defying lockdown orders to reopen – as hundreds of small businesses quietly open their doors despite warnings from de Blasio that they’ll be fined for disobeying him
A Staten Island tanning salon was shut down by NYPD cops on Thursday after reopening in defiance of the lockdown order like hundreds of small businesses across New York that are quietly opening their doors after growing tired of waiting for the mayor or governor to let them get back to work.
Sunbelievable, a tanning salon run by Bobby Catone, reopened after he complained that he was being treated like a ‘prisoner’.
New York City recorded only 59 hospitalizations on Wednesday and 45 people died on Tuesday. Despite the low numbers, De Blasio and Cuomo have both dodged giving a reopening date for weeks and say the city’s ‘numbers’ aren’t low enough yet.
Sunbelievable, a tanning salon on Staten Island, reopened on Thursday after owner Bobby Catone (shown in light blue shirt) said he felt like he was being held ‘prisoner’ by city officials keeping him closed
Catone embraces a friend at the tanning salon. He was not wearing a masks but others, who stood outside to protest, did
NYPD cops descended on the business, shut it down, and gathered signs criticizing Cuomo for keeping them closed
Catone put a sign in the window telling customers he’d been shut down by the health department afterwards
There were dozens of protesters there to support Catone. Some wore masks, others did not
It is enraging business owners who demand to know why they haven’t been allowed to return to work and implement social distancing and disinfecting rules while retail giants like Walmart, Costco, Home Depot and Amazon sweep the market.
All of those major stores have been deemed essential since the beginning of the pandemic predominantly because they sell household items and groceries. But they also sell countless other types of goods and have continued to make profits while people shop online and in their stores.
Over the past week, businesses have quietly started reopening across the city. Some keep their doors locked once customers are inside and others turn out the lights to try to avoid attracting police attention.
Many did not want to be named publicly because they have been threatened with ‘aggressive’ enforcement from Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to Bruce Backman, spokesman for Reopen New York, a coalition of small businesses.
Beard Barberia Cut and Shave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Owner Ilya Iskhakov reopened quietly on May 22 and three cops showed up to shut him down again (shown). He’s since started giving people haircuts in their homes and even moved to a temporary premises to avoid being caught
Peter Eliot Blue, a menswear store on the Upper East Side, has been open since the end of April
My Unique, a thrift store with multiple locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn and New Jersey, is open.
Peter Elliot Blue, a menswear store on the Upper East Side, has been open for weeks. The store owner, a 78-year-old veteran, is only allowing two people in at a time and is giving them masks and gloves. He says he can’t affor to stay closed.
‘We have 11 locations across NY & NJ, and as so many other small businesses, have been immensely impacted by the shutdown over the past few months.
Owner Eliot Rabin, 78, let two people in the store at a time and provides shoppers with masks and gloves. He says he couldn’t afford to stay closed
‘My boss started the company in 1987, and since the COVID crisis began, he’s been working around the clock trying to salvage the business and figure out how to survive this shutdown.
‘He’s expressed how difficult it has been; we are a tight knit group, some employees have been with him for decades.
‘We know them like family, and they’ve been unable to earn the income they rely on to feed those families.
‘The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority, but we also provide essential goods, and have prepared our stores with every CDC safety measure and then some.
‘In NJ, our stores have been deemed essential business and permitted to open during phase 1 reopening.
‘We’ve been allowed to open on Long Island as well, but in NYC we have not been given the same qualification,’ Chelsea McCarthy, Digital Operations, told DailyMail.com.
We did what were were supposed to do … we flattened the curve. So why are they treating us like prisoners?’
Bobby Catone of Sunbelievable, a tanning salon that reopened on Thursday
She added that the store sells items that have been deemed essential from the start of the pandemic, like paper towel, and that customers rely on their low prices for the goods.
They tried to stay open but were shut down by NYPD cops, she said, who came in and told everyone to leave.
Ilya Iskhakov runs Beard Barberia Cut and Shave, in Williamsburg.
He closed his doors briefly and was shut down by three cops who came to the shop and threatened him and his customers with summonses.
‘They are hard working Americans that don’t want to be in danger,’ he told DailyMail.com.
He said he is now going to people’s homes to perform haircuts but has also moved his own business to a temporary location to avoid being shutdown.
Ilya Iskhakov, a Brooklyn barber, said he had to start cutting hair again to pay his rent, bills and buy groceries
‘At the moment my customers are reaching out so I perform in house haircuts just to eat food and pay rent and utilities,’ he said.
Gymies, a children’s gym in Brooklyn, has been closed for months.
The gym area where children play is still closed but it has reopened its small retail section.
Michael Weinstein runs 360, an events company in Long Island. He has reopened his showroom and is inviting clients in once again.
‘We need to open in order to meet one on one sagely with clients looking to use our various services. We have a showroom that has samples and it really helps to see the samples in person,’ he said.
All belong to Reopen New York, a coalition of hundreds of businesses that has formed to unite against the local officials keeping them closed.
‘Why is the mayor favoring Walmart and Costco over New York small businesses?
‘When did the mayor and the governor become pawns against small business? It’s probably the strangest position they have ever taken,’ Bruce Backman, a spokesman for the coalition, told DailyMail.com.
They say there is no science or data to support the notion that mega stores can enforce mask wearing and social distancing better than they can.
They are calling into question the mayor and governor’s entire shutdown strategy which banned small independent retailers from selling clothes and shoes, but allowed huge businesses to carry those items because they sold other ‘essential’ products.
‘How is Walmart safer than a small children’s good store or a jewelry store?’