Coronavirus Updates: New York City eyes Phase 4 reopening while Walmart masks up

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NEW YORK (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he would be revealing the guidance for next Monday when New York City is expected to enter Phase 4 of reopening. Also on Monday, Walmart will require customers to wear face coverings at all of its namesake and Sam's Club stores.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Phase 4 may be different from what some were hoping for and some things may not be ready yet. What that means for indoor dining and for school reopenings is still unclear.

On a positive note, COVID-19 test results are now coming back quicker, with an average response time of 3 days.

Here are more of today's headlines:

NEWARK MASKS UP
Starting Thursday, police in Newark will begin issuing summonses to those who do not wear a mask in outdoor public spaces. It is part of the "Mask up, Newark!" promotion from the mayor and public safety director.

The rule follows an executive order from Governor Phil Murphy.

NJ LONG-TERM CARE VISITATIONS
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday that parents and guardians of residents at pediatric long-term care facilities can now begin indoor visitations under specific conditions. Murphy, a Democrat, said facilities with zero new positive COVID-19 cases over a 28-day period can begin allowing indoor meetings by appointment only.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said officials realize it's been difficult for parents and loved ones to be away from their children for more than three months. "Reuniting families ... is a critical step for the mental, physical, social and emotional well-being of these children, but we need to be vigilant," she said. Visitors must be screened for symptoms and exposure to the virus and a designated area in the facility must be designed, she said. Anyone with symptoms won't be allowed to visit, she added.

ROSE PARADE CANCELED FOR 1ST TIME SINCE WWII
The 2021 New Year's Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, has been canceled due to the pandemic, officials announced on Wednesday. In a statement, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association said the decision was made about the New Year's Day event "with reluctance and tremendous disappointment" and in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom's Phase 4 reopening schedule.

OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR TESTS POSITVE FOR COVID-19
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that he's the first governor in the United States to test positive for the coronavirus and that he is isolating at home. Stitt, 48, said he mostly feels fine, although he started feeling "a little achy" on Tuesday and sought a test. He said his wife and children were also tested Tuesday and that none of them have tested positive.

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that he's the first governor in the United States to test positive for the coronavirus and that he is isolating at home.



Stitt has backed one of the country's most aggressive reopening plans, resisted any statewide mandate on masks and rarely wears one himself.

WALMART TO REQUIRE MASKS
Walmart will require shoppers to wear masks in all U.S. stores, the latest company to impose restrictions as COVID cases spike across the country. The rule takes effect on Monday.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said that currently about 65% its more than 5,000 stores and clubs are located in areas where there is already some form of government mandate on face coverings. The retailer also said it will create the role of health ambassador at its Walmart stores and will station them near the entrance to remind customers without masks of its new requirements.

GOVERNORS ISLAND REOPENS
Governors Island, the popular 27-acre park that sits between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, reopened to the public for "passive recreation" with a daily ferry service from Lower Manhattan.

LIBERTY, ELLIS ISLANDS PLAN TO PARTIALLY REOPEN
Liberty and Ellis Islands plan to partially reopen pending New York City's move into Phase Four of the state's reopening process, according to the National Park Service.

The move is set to begin Monday, July, 20. The Statue of Liberty interior will remain closed for now.

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART PLANS REOPENING
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art will reopen five days a week starting Aug. 29 after being shuttered since March 13 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, museum officials announced Wednesday. The Met's Fifth Avenue building will be open Thursday through Monday with safety protocols i ncluding frequent cleaning and visitors limited to 25% of the museum's capacity, the officials said. Face coverings and social distancing will be required.

"Perhaps now more than ever the Museum can serve as a reminder of the power of the human spirit and the capacity of art to bring comfort, inspire resilience, and help us better understand each other and the world around us," museum president Daniel H. Weiss said in a statement.

NY REACHES GRIM MILESTONE
In New York, the state hit a grim milestone on Wednesday as deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 25,000 after 9 more deaths on Tuesday. About 1.3% of people tested in New York for COVID-19 Tuesday were positive, according to Cuomo's office.

WATCH THE SERIES: EYEWITNESS TO A PANDEMIC (Episode 6 below)
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Suddenly, the brutal death of George Floyd while in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis filled the streets of a nation with rage and sorrow. New York was no different. Protesters put the fear of the virus aside and took to the streets by the thousands. Abandoning the safety and comfort of social distance, to demand social change.


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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio along with local health experts have repeatedly called contact tracing a key element in preventing another spike of coronavirus in the city.



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