News, Culture & Society

Mounting pressure to reopen NYC as critics say de Blasio and Cuomo have ‘no plan’

More than 7,000 people have signed a petition supporting the coalition 

There is mounting pressure to reopen New York City from a chorus of small businesses who say they are being ‘brought to their knees’ by the lockdown and other critics who say it is ‘high time’ to let people get back to work and fume the officials in charge ‘have no plan’.  

A coalition of 300 small New York City businesses are demanding that the city be reopened as it nears its 10th week of lockdown without any end in sight despite having low infection and death numbers.  

The coalition, called Reopen NY, announced their campaign at a press conference where they said they were being ‘played’ by the government for not being allowed to do business, while retail giants like Home Depot and Target are because they have been deemed ‘essential’. 

Others say it is ‘high time’ to let people get back to work and claim neither Mayor Bill de Blasio nor Gov. Andrew Cuomo have a real plan about how the economy will restart. 

On Thursday, when asked when New York City’s schools would reopen and the rest of the city, Cuomo said: ‘My position is, I don’t have a position. 

‘I don’t know whether or not they should reopen yet…. we’ll make a decision on the full reopening on a timely way.’ 

De Blasio said inexplicably on Thursday that the city would start to reopen in mid-June. He did not say why it would take another three weeks to start the process.  

The New York Post front page on Thursday May 21 demands that the city reopen

The New York Post front page on Thursday May 21 demands that the city reopen 

The four-phase plan to reopening lets manufacturing, construction and retail start first then office workers and hair salons are in the second phase. 

The third phase includes restaurants resuming dine-in services ans the fourth is entertainment and sports events. 

But so many questions remain over how and when the city will reopen. Businesses have been told to make their own plans for social distancing and sanitizing but there remains no official start date for NYC to reopen, nor is there a plan about keeping the subway system going while enforcing rules.  

More than 16,000 have died and there have been more than 191,000 cases in New York City since mid March. 

It was the epicenter of the epicenter with 800 people dying every day at its worst but now, fewer than 100 people are being admitted to hospital on a daily basis. 

The city has low enough infection and death rates but is being kept shut because, according to officials, it needs another 3 percent of its hospital beds to come free (around 630), 4 percent of its ICU beds (officials won’t give a precise number for this) and the city needs to hire more contact tracers. 

 

The Reopen NY coalition announced their campaign on Wednesday afternoon at a press conference. More than 300 businesses signed the coalition demanding to be allowed to reopen on May 28

The Reopen NY coalition announced their campaign on Wednesday afternoon at a press conference. More than 300 businesses signed the coalition demanding to be allowed to reopen on May 28 

Video courtesy of NTD news  

As of Wednesday, more than 1,000 had been ‘onboarded’, city officials told DailyMail.com, but they refused to specificy how many more were needed. They gave a tentative goal date of June 1, claiming it was the ‘initial’ target, but there has been no other specific information on when people can get back to work.

Both de Blasio and Cuomo have avoided giving a specific New York City reopening date. They just say it will take until the numbers are low enough but most already are. 

‘This shutdown is dragging on and on, literally bringing the small businesses of New York to our knees. 

‘Are we being played? Are we fighting a pandemic or are we just being used as pawns by our politicians? 

The three areas holding New York City back from reopening are the lack of free hospital beds and contact tracers which have to be hired by the local government

The three areas holding New York City back from reopening are the lack of free hospital beds and contact tracers which have to be hired by the local government 

‘Why is there a double standard? If Home Depot can sell flooring, why can’t a small business sell flooring? 

‘If Target can sell clothing, why can’t we?’  Simcha Minkowitz, of the coalition, said at the press conference on Wednesday. 

In their petition, the coalition says: ‘At the start of this pandemic, and when our city needed it most, we shut our doors to flatten the curve.

‘But today, while the curve has been flattened, our requests to reopen our sources of income have fallen on deaf ears.

‘Our businesses are the backbone of this state and quite literally, what we depend on to put food on our table and is equally vital to our employees, vendors, and communities.

‘ARMY’ OF CONTACT TRACERS HOLDING NYC BACK FROM REOPENING

One of the requirements to reopening is the ‘army’ of contact tracers required by Cuomo. 

The city needs 2,250 people who will be trained via an online course put together by Mike Bloomberg’s charity and their job is to phone people who have come into contact with known case. 

But as of Wednesday, the city had only hired 1,000. 

A spokeswoman told DailyMail.com they were ‘on track’ to meet a ‘June 1 goal’ of having enough. 

Weeks ago, the goal was May 15 and the city said then that it was on track to have enough. 

Some of the workforce will be bulked out by existing Department of Health staff. 

No other state is relying on the tracing ‘army’ to reopen. 

‘If big box stores can service hundreds at a time, we citizens should be equally trusted to service smaller numbers of patrons in our businesses.

‘Common sense dictates that it is obviously much easier to monitor smaller more controlled environments and enterprises.’ 

Their sentiments were echoed by New York Post columnist Dave Marcus.

In a front-page column on Thursday, he wrote: ‘In mid-March, we were told we have to endure a lockdown to ensure that hospitals didn’t get overrun. We did. The hospitals were not overwhelmed.  

‘We were told we were moments away from running out of ventilators. 

‘We weren’t, and now the United States has built so many, we are giving them away to other countries.

‘Meanwhile, the Big Apple is ­dying. 

‘Its streets are empty. The bars and jazz clubs, restaurants and coffeehouses sit barren. Beloved haunts, storied rooms, perfect-slice joints are shuttered, many for good. 

‘The sweat equity of countless small-business owners is evaporating. ­Instead of getting people back to work providing for their families, our mayor talks about a fantasyland New Deal for the post-coronavirus era.’ 

New York City deaths have been steadily declining for weeks now and aside from an anomaly in reporting figures on May 17, the numbers have been well within reopening requirements

New York City deaths have been steadily declining for weeks now and aside from an anomaly in reporting figures on May 17, the numbers have been well within reopening requirements 

Comparatively, the rest of the country continues to see deaths rise but every other state has reopened to some extent

Comparatively, the rest of the country continues to see deaths rise but every other state has reopened to some extent 

The city's own data shows how the number of new cases every day has dramatically decreased in recent weeks. It claims only 26 were reported on the 19th. The data is incomplete and the city notes there is a delay but the inescapable truth is that the figures are rapidly shrinking

The city’s own data shows how the number of new cases every day has dramatically decreased in recent weeks. It claims only 26 were reported on the 19th. The data is incomplete and the city notes there is a delay but the inescapable truth is that the figures are rapidly shrinking

The daily hospitalization rate in New York City has reduced enormously over the last few weeks and is down to fewer than 100 a day

The daily hospitalization rate in New York City has reduced enormously over the last few weeks and is down to fewer than 100 a day

Retail giants like Home Depot have been allowed to remain open throughout the pandemic, which small businesses say is unfair

Retail giants like Home Depot have been allowed to remain open throughout the pandemic, which small businesses say is unfair

Target has also been allowed to stay open across the city to sell clothing and home items which the government says is 'essential'

Target has also been allowed to stay open across the city to sell clothing and home items which the government says is ‘essential’ 

While retail giants have been allowed to reopen, small businesses remain closed. The Sundaram Tagore art gallery in Chelsea is pictured

While retail giants have been allowed to reopen, small businesses remain closed. The Sundaram Tagore art gallery in Chelsea is pictured 

Smaller businesses like bars and restaurants have gradually begun reopening on a take-out only basis as their stimulus money runs out. Restaurants and bars were allowed to stay open throughout but only on a pick-up or delivery service

Smaller businesses like bars and restaurants have gradually begun reopening on a take-out only basis as their stimulus money runs out. Restaurants and bars were allowed to stay open throughout but only on a pick-up or delivery service

People gather outside Tiki Bar  on the Upper West Side on Wednesday night. More restaurants and bars continue to gingerly open on a take-out basis as the numbers continue to decline

People gather outside Tiki Bar  on the Upper West Side on Wednesday night. More restaurants and bars continue to gingerly open on a take-out basis as the numbers continue to decline 

Macy's is in talks with the city to reopen its flagship Herald Square store on a pick-up only basis

Macy’s is in talks with the city to reopen its flagship Herald Square store on a pick-up only basis 

This is the extent of the plan that has been released for reopening but no guidelines have been given for any business yet beyond phase 1. Cuomo and de Blasio say it's down to businesses to keep employees safe but they have not issued specific rules that must be met

This is the extent of the plan that has been released for reopening but no guidelines have been given for any business yet beyond phase 1. Cuomo and de Blasio say it’s down to businesses to keep employees safe but they have not issued specific rules that must be met 

Marcus demanded that the entire city be reopened because New Yorkers have ‘learned’ how to socially distance. 

CUOMO AND DE BLASIO’S CONFLICTING GUIDANCE AND VAGUE PLAN

Cuomo gave a four tier plan to reopening the economy once a region’s requirements have been met. 

But there remain a large number of questions about the practical reality of getting back to work. 

Phase 1 is manufacturing, construction and curbside retail. 

Phase 2 is office workers and beauty services so long as they reach social distancing guidelines. 

Phase 3 is restaurants and food services.

Phase 4 is entertainment. 

But there’s no plan for how the subway will be safely used, nor is there a real set of rules for employers and how to protect their employees like how many people are allowed in an elevator, for example. 

TIMELINE FOR REOPENING 

Cuomo says that NYC will be able to reopen when it meets the requirements. 

But de Blasio said on Thursday that the city won’t even start to reopen until mid-June.  

BEACHES

Cuomo has allowed beaches across the state to reopen and will let people swim there. 

After flip-flopping on the issue, de Blasio finally said he would allow NYC beaches to open but that people were not allowed to swim at them. 

PUBLIC EVENTS 

Cuomo is now allowing church gatherings of 10 people or less and he is allowing commemorative Memorial Day services of 10 or less, including vehicle parades.

But de Blasio has said all public parades will be canceled throughout all of June.

‘Open the city. All of it. Right now. Broadway shows, beaches, Yankees games, the schools, the top of the freakin’ Empire State building. Everything. New Yorkers have already learned to socially distance.

‘Businesses can adjust. The elderly and infirm can continue to be isolated,’ he wrote. 

Marcus, who also writes for The Federalist, went on to call de Blasio and Cuomo ‘idiots’ who have ‘no plan’. 

‘What the hell is going on? Is anybody in charge of this situation? 

‘Or are we just left with the governor and his talking-head brother ­arguing on CNN about which of the two Ma loves best? (Who cares?)’ he said, in reference to Cuomo’s ongoing appearances on his brother Chris’s TV show where they trade barbs and talk about their family dynamic.

‘There is not a single question about when New York can get back to normal to which they have a straight ­answer. Not one. 

‘They cash their taxpayer paychecks while immiserating the rest of us.

‘If our elected leaders won’t save the world’s greatest city from a slow death by economic strangulation, then the people of New York must do it themselves. 

‘Barbers, tailors, nail ­salons, sporting-goods stores, movie theaters and others should open their doors — while maintaining social distancing, of course — and dare the state to shut them down,’ he said. 

Cuomo has allowed seven other regions across the state to reopen and is allowing religious ceremonies of 10 people or less to begin again but New York City – the biggest driver in the state’s economy – is staying shut. 

De Blasio has been accused of holding the city ‘hostage’ while waiting for a federal bailout. 

Macy’s is in talks with the city to reopen its Herald Square store on a pick-up basis only which is one of the first phases of reopening. 

There are four phases of reopening which begin with construction and manufacturing jobs, along with curbside retail. 

The second is to allow office workers back to their offices and to resume beauty services in salons but CDC guidelines on social distancing and disinfecting workplaces have to be met.

Businesses now have to commit to follow the rules and the city is tasked with enforcing the requirements. 

Prominent Conservative Judge Andrew Napolitano told Fox News on Thursday that ‘enough is enough’ and it is time to reopen the city. 

He said elected officials had no real evidence that any of the measures being taken were effective, despite the numbers continuing to decrease. 

‘What if they have the medicine wrong? 

‘What if the masks that we’re all wearing don’t stop COVID-19? What if by staying home week after week and now into our second month we’re actually weakening our immunity rather than strengthening it? 

Neither Gov. Andrew Cuomo nor Mayor Bill de Blasio have given a straight answer for when NYC will reopen. They both say it will only happen when the city hits reopening requirements but it has already met most and is being held back by things the government controls

Neither Gov. Andrew Cuomo nor Mayor Bill de Blasio have given a straight answer for when NYC will reopen. They both say it will only happen when the city hits reopening requirements but it has already met most and is being held back by things the government controls

Neither Gov. Andrew Cuomo nor Mayor Bill de Blasio have given a straight answer for when NYC will reopen. They both say it will only happen when the city hits reopening requirements but it has already met most and is being held back by things the government controls 

‘What if we’d be happier if we took care of ourselves rather than the government taking care of us? What if, to a barber or a sales clerk, a barbershop or a retail store is essential? What if the government has no business deciding what’s essential and what isn’t essential? What if we made those decisions ourselves?

‘It’s time for all of us to come back to our normal society with concerns for the spread of the contagion. We can live with social distancing and operate our businesses and go to restaurants and go to work and ride mass transit and liven up those streets again,’ he said. 

Neither Cuomo nor de Blasio has revealed a plan for keeping mass transit safe and socially distanced once the city reopens.

At present, subway cars are being taken offline every night between 1am and 5am for a complete disinfection but it’s unclear if that will still be sustainable when people get back to work. 

There is conflicting guidance from Cuomo and de Blasio on what will happen and when. 

Cuomo said New York City will reopen when it reaches the numbers but de Blasio says it won’t reopen until mid-June. 

Cuomo has allowed beaches across the state to reopen and will let people swim there. 

After flip-flopping on the issue, de Blasio finally said he would allow NYC beaches to open but that people were not allowed to swim at them.  

Cuomo is now allowing church gatherings of 10 people or less and he is allowing commemorative Memorial Day services of 10 or less, including vehicle parades.

But de Blasio has said all public parades will be canceled throughout all of June.

Ten worst impacted NYC neighborhoods are in the Bronx and Brooklyn – but the entire city remains closed because there aren’t enough hospital beds or contact tracers despite deaths and infections meeting reopening targets 

The persistent new coronavirus cases in New York City are coming from low income neighborhoods and faith-based communities, Gov. Cuomo said on Wednesday, including some areas of the Bronx where nearly half of residents tested positive.  

There were another 112 deaths on Tuesday and 295 new hospitalizations from COVID-19.  The citywide death toll is now 16,000 and there have been more than 191,000 cases. 

Across the entire state of New York – which is largely reopening aside from NYC, Long Island and mid-Hudson, there have been more than 22,000 deaths and more than 350,000 cases. 

Cuomo said on Wednesday that a recent study of testing carried out at church sites, which are closed, revealed higher than average infection rates than anywhere else, with many residents testing positive for antibodies. 

He also said the continuing cases are coming from low income zip codes. 

New York City has now got a low enough daily death rate and daily hospitalization rate to reopen but it continues to be held back by the lack of hospital beds, ICU beds and contact tracers that have to be hired.

Seven of the state’s ten regions are now reopening because they have met Cuomo’s requirements. 

The city needs another 600 or so hospital beds to free up before it hits the target of having 30 percent of the system free. It is four percent off having enough ICU beds. 

Officials would not confirm exactly how many contact tracers had been hired when contacted by DailyMail.com on Wednesday. The city needs 2,250 to reopen.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We are on track to meet the tracing goal. We have over 1,000 tracers currently on board to meet our initial June 1 goal in addition to existing staff.’ The previous reopening goal was May 15 – not June 1.  

Cuomo told local leaders to drill down with testing on the lower income communities to try to stop the spread. 

‘It is going to be true in every community across this state and across this nation.  You tell me the zip codes that have a predominantly minority community that is lower income. I will tell you the communities where you’ll have increased spread. 

‘Focus on low income communities. Do the testing and do the outreach. 

‘That’s where the cases are coming from, the new hospitalizations are coming from, that’s where you’re going to see the highest number of deaths.  That is our challenge,’ he said.  

Morrisania in the Bronx is the worst impacted neighborhood in the entire city. Forty-three percent of residents there who were tested tested positive. 

Brownsville in Brooklyn was the second highest impacted with a 41 percent infection rate. Pelham Gardens is next with a 38 percent infection rate, which is the same as in Soundview, in the Bronx.

Crown Heights in Brooklyn has an infection rate of 34 percent and Canarsie in Brooklyn has an infection rate of 33 percent.  

Despite the high numbers of infections, Cuomo is allowing religious ceremonies of 10 of fewer congregants to resume. 

But New York City remains closed and is not likely to reopen until June, according to Mayor de Blasio who on Tuesday said the city needed ‘at least a few more weeks’ of shut-down and that the lockdown would continue ‘into the first half of June’. 

He has taken a pessimistic outlook on the situation from the beginning and called for a lockdown before Cuomo initiated one.

De Blasio also called for dramatic measures like a nationwide draft for healthcare workers. On Wednesday, he suggested the New York Marathon may not be able to go ahead and it is not due to take place until November. 

Some Republican pundits have accused de Blasio of holding the city ‘hostage’ in an effort to get federal bailout money from Trump.  

De Blasio said he would not be able to restart the city’s economy without additional stimulus money from the federal government. 

‘How are we going to even afford to restart our city if right now we are literally out of money. I’ve lost $7.4 billion already, and my economy can’t come back until I get that stimulus.’ 

‘We’re all connected. This is the largest city in the country. We help lead the national economy for everyone,’ he said.

Fox contributor Tammy Bruce said in response: ‘It was essentially a threat. 

‘[De Blasio] said that the nation’s economy was not going to rebound – in a message to President Trump – unless New York’s economy rebounds. 

‘And until he gets that federal money that’s just not going to happen. 

‘He’s not going to open….now this is his answer to essentially hold New York City hostage,’ she said.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.