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CityWatch: New York City sets goal to reopen fully on July 1: De Blasio

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Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday morning that New York City will set a goal to ‘fully reopen’ on July 1, citing the city’s strong pace of vaccinations and declining COVID-19 case numbers. “This is all about a recovery for all of us,” de Blasio said. “Bringing back jobs, bringing back businesses, making New York City as vibrant as we were before the pandemic and then going even farther. Even more jobs, a stronger economy, a better life, more equality.”

Plans for July include the full reopening of restaurants and bars; stores, shops and small businesses; hair salons and barber shops; gyms and fitness classes; arenas and stadiums; and theaters, music halls and museums—although Broadway shows aren’t expected to fully resume until the fall.

See: Will New York’s summer fashion include bare faces?

The mayor also announced the appointment of Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack
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restaurateur Danny Meyer as the new chair of the Economic Development Corporation, and as a liaison to help bring back an estimated 400,000 jobs to the city this calendar year.

“We need to hire a lot of people very quickly,” Meyer said during de Blasio’s Thursday morning press conference. “One of my hopes is that the city can be an agent to help connect job seekers with those who want to hire. We are in for one of the biggest recoveries ever, and I truly believe that hospitality is what’s going to lead the way.”

While state officials have yet to set a date for the return of 24-hour subway service, de Blasio suggested July 1 as a potential deadline. (The MTA is run by the state, and under executive orders from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, subways have been closed for overnight cleaning hours since May 2020.)

(De Blasio said on Thursday that he had not discussed the July 1 reopening goal with Cuomo, and later in the day the governor suggested the possibility of a full reopening sooner, while also calling it “irresponsible” to set specific dates.)

Earlier in the week, the state legislature voted to remove the requirement that food items be sold along with alcoholic beverages in New York, and Cuomo announced that the current midnight curfew on bars and restaurants will be lifted by the end of May.

The mayor also announced “Mental Health for All” plans, including making free mental health check-ins available at city-run vaccination sites; instituting; universal mental health screenings and resources in schools; and the establishment of a permanent Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health.

Also read: India’s COVID-19 crisis is a ‘crime against humanity,’ says prizewinning author as nation sets new case record

All told, nearly 6.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in New York City, and 95% New Yorkers are returning for their second doses, a higher rate than the national average. COVID-19 cases continue to decline, and the current seven-day rolling average infection rate in the city is 3.18%.

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