New York City is entering its second phase of reopening amid the— a day that’s been months in the making. Children are allowed back on playgrounds, outdoor seating and barbershops are cutting hair again.
Victor Jung, the managing partner at Petaluma restaurant, told CBS News he wants guests to feel like there’s a “sense of normal.”
“We want to make sure what’s the minimum that we can do that’s the maximum to make sure the customer interaction is there,” Jung said.
All establishments are required to follow social distancing rules, and employees and customers must wear face coverings when they are within 6 feet of people. It’s a stark contrast to just two months ago when the streets of the nation’s most densely populated city were bare. Broadway shut down, the business was paralyzed and the outbreak was so severe that a field hospital was put up in Central Park.
Once the epicenter of the outbreak where more than 24,000 died, now less than 2% of all New Yorkers have been infected with the virus.
“We only had 10 deaths overnight. That’s the lower number since this started. We have about 1,000 people in our hospitals, lower numbers since this started,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Asked whether he would dine out Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio replied “absolutely.”
“The world of New York restaurants is very, very personally important to me. I’m very excited that this day has come. I’m very excited for these folks who have put their whole lives into their restaurants,” he added. “It’s just so much a part of life in this city, but it’s something that gives me a tremendous amount of joy. So, Chirlane and I will be out there, but we’re working out where.”
One woman was the first to get a Phase 2 experience at a local salon. “It feels great. It feels like such a treat to be here,” she told CBS New York.
The mayor estimated, in all, 150,000 to 300,000 New Yorkers would be heading back to work. “Phase 2 is really a giant step for this city. This is where most of our economy is,” he said.