NYC to fully reopen by July, Mayor de Blasio says; Cuomo says maybe sooner

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — New York City is set to “fully reopen” by July, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a surprise announcement Thursday.

After over a year of remote learning, curfews, no or limited indoor dining, and other COVID-19 restrictions, de Blasio made the announcement on Morning Joe, a national morning news talk show, just hours before his daily news briefing with local media.

You can catch updates from the mayor’s daily news briefing here: NY COVID latest: Thursday, April 29, 2021

“Our plan is to fully reopen New York City on July 1,” the mayor said. “We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters – full strength.”

De Blasio cited the city’s rising vaccination numbers – 6.3 million total doses given so far, he said – when speaking of the ambitious goal.

“We know the vaccination effort is gonna grow and grow,” he said.

During his Thursday briefing, de Blasio said he set the July 1 goal to have the city fully reopen at 100%, which includes restaurants, bars, stores, fitness centers, arenas, theaters and personal care businesses.

“We’re going to keep working hard everyday to make this city safer and safer,” the mayor said. “This is going to be the summer of New York City.”

When asked if fully reopening would include the resumption of 24 hour subway service, the mayor said he has long believed subway service should get back to 24/7 at the right time.

“I think July 1 is the right time,” the mayor added.

De Blasio also said safety measures will be put in place depending on the data, but urged everyone to continue to get vaccinated.

As of Thursday morning, 6,427,404 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and the mayor said he remained optimistic the city will achieve its goal in getting 5 million New Yorkers vaccinated.

“I’m hoping everything turns out great. I’m ready,” Manhattan resident Sondra Gunter said. “We’ve been locked up for a long time. It will be well deserved.”

Rohan Shetty said he isn’t ready for a full New York City reopening on July 1.

“I think we should be patient. We’ve seen what’s happening around the world,” he said.

While the mayor made this declaration, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reminded people Thursday the decision is up to the state.

“It’s a statewide management system and we are managing it by the science, by the data,” Cuomo said.

And while the governor said he is reluctant to make projections, he is optimistic New York City will be fully reopened before July.

“I don’t want to wait that long,” he said.

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams affirmed de Blasio’s plans in a statement. 

“The July 1 designation is an ambitious but reasonable target to put forth, an aspiration that will need evaluation as we move forward with a concerted effort to increase injections and slow infection.”

Businesses, restaurants and event spaces are planning for the number of visitors and guests to continue to increase.

Jeffrey LeFrancois is the executive director of the Meatpacking District. 

“There’s no question that tourism means a lot to the Meatpacking District. We are already seeing an uptick in visitors coming from the five boroughs, the tri-state area, and also across the country,” he said.

Places are expanding their outdoor dining and open spaces.

Subway and bus ridership has been steadily increasing as the weather has improved. More riders are using mass transit on the weekend.

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