Mayor Hints at Tweaked or Delayed Rollout of Phase IV in NYC

NEW YORK -
Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability in City Hall on Monday. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

Residents of New York City are expected to learn as early as Thursday whether they will be on track to enter Phase IV of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reopening plan on Monday, July 20, two weeks after it started Phase III amid the recent surge of new cases of coronavirus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio cast doubt on a smooth transition Wednesday, saying Phase IV was more complicated than other stages because some components are already in place.

Phase IV, the final step of Cuomo’s reopening strategy, also reopens low-risk indoor and outdoor venues like museums, aquariums and zoos; the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island have already announced partial reopening plans starting Monday. Capacity for indoor venues must be capped at 25%.

De Blasio said the five boroughs’ next step is being deliberated between the city and the state. Given the current and still spiraling national coronavirus surge, he said he wouldn’t be surprised if the city tweaked or delayed its Phase IV rollout. “There’s substantial activity that needs to be adjudicated,” de Blasio said. “We have to decide how we feel about the various pieces and if we’re ready. I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s a split situation or defined timeline for delay.”

That split situation was the case for the city in Phase III. It opened personal care services and more outdoor recreation but halted the return of indoor dining indefinitely, even as the rest of the state was permitted to continue doing it. But it did still transition to Phase III on the scheduled date.

Other than NYC, the rest of the state is already in Phase IV.