Coronavirus: New York plans to ease lockdown by letting some businesses re-open

Andrew Cuomo reports 367 new deaths from Covid-19, first time state has reported fewer than 375 deaths in daily count since March

Alex Woodward
New York
Monday 27 April 2020 07:40
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New York mayor Bill de Blasio encourages people to report places that aren’t enforcing social distancing

New York could begin reopening some manufacturing and construction projects in the state on 15 May following stringent quarantine measures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s the expiration date for governor Andrew Cuomo’s statewide order that has shuttered nonessential business across New York as it became the global epicentre for the virus.

On Sunday, the governor reported the lowest number of deaths in state since March, with declining hospitalisation and intubation rates, which could signal that the state is beginning to emerge from the crisis.

Mr Cuomo said 367 had died over the previous 24 hours in New York, adding to a statewide death toll that has reached nearly 17,300, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

He said: ”That would normally be terrible news ... It’s only not terrible news compared to where we were.”

But the last time that the state had reported fewer than 375 deaths was on 31 March.

While the drop could be a hopeful sign that the state is beginning to recover, the death toll is “horrific”, he said. “There is no relative context to death,” he said. “Death is death.”

The governor outlined a rough plan to begin reopening the state in phases — pending declining hospitalizations, the results of antibody testing and the overall number of infections — but he declined to offer up any specific dates or timelines beyond the expiration of the current order.

“I’m not comfortable getting too far ahead of ourselves,” he said.

Before moving into a “second phase” that could begin lifting some quarantine efforts on a “business-by-business” analysis, the state would need to continue seeing a decline in hospitalisations for 14 days.

Reopening also would be coordinated with the tri-state area, including New Jersey and Connecticut.

On Saturday, he said: ”All sorts of basic questions have to be answered to determine, what’s our ideal? But also practically, what can we get done at any given moment?”

While New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the formation of advisory boards to determine a roadmap for the city’s economic recovery, Governor Cuomo said officials are working to determine how the city will function as it approaches the summer.

He said: ”You can’t tell people in a dense urban environment, all through the summer months, ‘we don’t have anything for you to do, stay in your apartment with the three kids.’ You know? That doesn’t work.”

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