NEW YORK—New York City aims to “fully reopen” on July 1 after more than a year of closures and capacity restrictions, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.
“We are ready to bring New York City back fully on July 1,” de Blasio told a news briefing. “Now we can see that light at the end of the tunnel.”
De Blasio said he had not discussed the city’s reopening date with Governor Andrew Cuomo but his announcement comes a day after Cuomo lifted restrictions that would clear the way for a revival of the city’s signature nightlife. The state has the power to impose or lift coronavirus-related restrictions.
“I think the best way to proceed here is to set out the city’s vision,” de Blasio said.
Asked about New York City’s reopening plan at a press conference later, Cuomo said he was “reluctant” to set a date but was hopeful it could happen even before July 1.
“I don’t want to wait that long,” said Cuomo. “I think if we do what we have to do, we can be reopened earlier.”
Even though the July 1 date is still aspirational and other jurisdictions such as Texas have already declared complete reopening, de Blasio’s announcement is significant. New York is the country’s most populous city and was the early epicenter of the pandemic in the United States.
The news was welcomed by many New Yorkers. “It means that we’re getting back on track, that everything’s going back to normal,” said Francisco Krauz, a construction worker who was taking a break on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Rob Dicks, head of IT consulting firm Accenture’s capital markets talent and organization practice, said he was eagerly awaiting the full reopening, his appetite whetted by a recent business meeting he held in Manhattan after a year of Zoom meetings.
“It was surreal to be back in Midtown for the first time in a year, having a face-to-face client meeting outside at a restaurant,” he said. “Video is an evolution … and is effective, but there are some topics that just need to be covered face-to-face.”