NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- After 3 bleak months and the deadliest coronavirus outbreak in the nation, New York City gradually began reopening Monday in a turning point in the crisis and an important test of the city's discipline.
With the virus in check - at least for now - stores previously deemed nonessential were cleared to reopen for delivery and curbside pickup, though customers cannot yet browse inside.
As many as 400,000 workers could begin returning to work during Phase 1.
Construction, manufacturing and wholesalers also received the go-ahead to resume work.
"So far, so good," construction management company owner Frank Sciame said as job sites started humming again, with new precautions such as health screening questionnaires and lower limits on the number of workers allowed in construction hoists.
Midtown Manhattan cautiously reawakened, with some luxury stores still boarded up after a few nights of smash-and-grab thefts amid last week's protests over George Floyd's death. But other shops began pulling plywood off their windows and restocking.
"This is the place where it was going to be the hardest to make a comeback, and yet New York City is so strong and resilient, we are making that comeback," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. But he warned the city against letting its guard down and jeopardizing its hard-won progress against the virus: "Let's hold onto it. Let's build on it."
Macy's says that while most New York City stores opened for curbside pickup on Monday, Herald Square remain closed until midweek. The company says customers can visit its website for locations offering contactless pickup.
We are looking forward to reopening our stores and welcoming back our colleagues and customers soon. In New York City, most of our stores are opening for curbside pickup today. A few, including our Herald Square flagship will open by midweek. When available, select local stores will offer contactless curbside pickups, Monday through Friday from 11am to 5pm. Customers can check macys.com for an up-to-date list of locations offering this service as it becomes available.
de Blasio announced late Sunday that to help out with the reopening efforts, Alternate Side Parking will be canceled from June 8 until June 21.
The city has been the epicenter of the crisis with 205,000 people infected and 22,000 lives lost since the pandemic began.
The MTA launched new social distancing guidelines in place. Hand sanitizer is available at stations, while subway stations trains and busses will continue to be sanitized overnight.
New signage with the updated rules is posted in stations like the MTA is asking the public to where masks. Anyone not wearing a mask in mass transit will be provided one.
The MTA is expecting ridership to only be at about 20 percent on Monday.
"The city now has to prove that it really knows what it's doing, that it can still be a dense city like New York and yet figure this out." Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a subway ride to mark the moment and send a message that it's safe: "If they're using the sanitizer, they're using the masks, it will be OK."
Edwin Arce said he thinks the city can regroup. A chef at a Manhattan restaurant, he was heartened to see more customers than expected when it reopened for takeout and delivery.
"As a city, we are ready to be back, start going out, living life - with the new reality, though," of masks and 6-foot (2-meter) separation, said Arce, 31.
Sam Solomon wonders how normal that will be.
"I don't know if it's ever going to be like it was," said Solomon, 22, who has a health-related job.
After months of relative isolation, "it's going to be an adjustment being around so many people," said the native New Yorker, who never thought she would have to get used to crowds.
(Some information from the Associated Press)
WHAT TO KNOW FOR PHASE 1 OF REOPENING IN NYC:
When will New York City begin to reopen?
New York City is set to reopen on June 8.
What businesses are authorized to reopen?
Businesses that may start or expand operations in NYC on June 8 include retail, construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade.
Retail businesses authorized to reopen for curbside and in-store pick up:
- Clothing stores
- Direct selling establishments
- Electronics and appliance stores
- Electronic shopping and mail-order houses
- Furniture and home furnishing stores
- General merchandise stores
- Health and personal care stores
- Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
- Lawn and garden supplies stores
- Office supplies, stationery, and gift stores
- Used merchandise stores
- Shoe stores
- Sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and bookstores
- Other miscellaneous store retailers
Construction industry authorized to reopen:
- Building equipment contractors
- Building finishing contractors
- Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors
- Highway, street and bridge construction
- Land subdivision
- Nonresidential building construction
- Residential building construction
- Utility system construction
Manufacturing businesses authorized to reopen:
- Apparel manufacturing
- Computer and electronic product manufacturing
- Electric lighting manufacturing
- Fabricated metal product manufacturing
- Leather and allied product manufacturing
- Machinery manufacturing
- Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing
- Paper manufacturing
- Petroleum and coal products manufacturing
- Plastics and rubber products manufacturing
- Printing and related support activities
- Textile mills
- Textile product mills
Wholesale Trade businesses authorized to reopen:
- Apparel, piece goods, and notions merchant wholesalers
- Chemical and allied products merchant wholesalers
- Furniture and home furnishing merchant wholesalers
- Household appliances and electrical and electronic goods merchant wholesalers
- Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers
- Metal and mineral (except petroleum) merchant wholesalers
- Paper and paper product merchant wholesalers
- Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers
- Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers
- Miscellaneous durable goods merchant wholesalers
- Miscellaneous nondurable goods merchant wholesalers
How do I know if businesses will be safe?
New York state requires employers to conduct employee health screening. The staff will be reminded to monitor their health closely and stay home if sick. Staff who arrive to work sick or become sick at work will be sent home immediately. Employers should relax leave policies to encourage staff to stay home until they meet the criteria for ending self-isolation. It is also essential to promote physical distancing, good hand hygiene and regular use of face coverings - these precautions are essential to protecting against the spread of COVID-19, especially if someone is sick but does not have symptoms.