New York City Set To Enter Phase 4 Next Week

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s been another huge step on New York City’s road to reopening.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined Mayor Bill de Blasio in giving Phase 4 the green light, but there will be some major limitations.

As CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reports, Shane Hathaway is improving the outdoor seating experience at Hold Fast Kitchen and Spirits in Hell’s Kitchen, because he doesn’t expect anyone will be eating inside a New York City restaurant any time soon.

“Obviously affects us both mentally and financially. We’ve just come to terms with the process honestly. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not until Labor Day at this point,” he said.

Hathaway is still hoping for some kind of timeline for restaurants, but so far all the mayor and governor have said is not yet to indoor activities, and OK to outdoor activities.


The governor gave an update by phone.

“We’ll continue to monitor that situation, and when the facts change we will let you know. What we’re really looking at now is the potential of a second wave,” Cuomo said.

“Look at the evidence. Watch what’s happening around the country. Watch what’s happening here in the city, and make further decisions on some of these pieces, and we’ll do that very carefully with the state of New York,” de Blasio said.

City malls, museums, movie theaters and gyms will stay closed for now.

“I do really respect New Yorkers for sticking to it because I think we can see what happen with the rest of the country… when people weren’t being so careful,” said Dr. Brian Mehling.

“It’s affecting my job. I have less hours doing part time instead of full time. Dying to go to the gym,” said Alexander Hernandez.

For now, you’ll have to work out outside, and find other outdoor activities that are now allowed as part of Phase 4. What Phase 4 will allow is low-risk outdoor activities including a partial reopening of Liberty Island. Some attractions like the High Line and Governors Island are already accepting visitors with capacity limits. Zoos and botanical gardens can reopen at 33% capacity. Film and television production will also resume, along with sporting events without fans.

The mayor also announced he is adding 40 more blocks of open streets, and says 8,600 restaurants are now taking part in the city’s outdoor dining program that has been expanded through the end of October.

It comes as Cuomo tightened regulations on city bars and restaurants.

A new “three strikes and you’re closed” rule addresses failure to maintain safety precautions, like enforcing masks and social distancing.

Bars and restaurants statewide must also only serve alcohol to seated patrons who order food.

Bartender Amanuel Pantoja is painting and building an expanded outdoor seating space outside Swing 46, a jazz club and restaurant, because he doesn’t expect indoor dining will be allowed anytime soon.

“It’s been definitely hard for everyone,” he said. “Having a volume of 100 people to sit for dinner inside compared to about 20 people outside – that’s a drastic impact.”

Pantoja and others were looking forward to what Phase 4 would bring, but not only are most indoor activities paused, restaurant and bar owners feel further limited after Cuomo tightned restrictions on to-go cocktails due to ongoing crowds seen violating social distancing rules.

“Everybody’s together. Nobody’s wearing a face mask, and we can’t go to the gym, but we can go outside and have drinks next to each other?” said handyman Alexander Hernandez.

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Gym is considered another high-risk indoor activity. The governor and mayor say don’t blame them: Look at the numbers, the national climate and risk of infection.

“Restaurants will be able to use the sidewalks. They’ll be able to use the curbs through September, through October. We’re extending this to October 31st,” de Blasio said. “Indoor dining, that could’ve started earlier. We’ve said that’s not happening. That continues to not happen. That is very high risk and we’ve seen that around the country.”

The Met Museum set a reopening date for August 28, and Cuomo said we’ll see – a sentiment echoed by many New Yorkers.

“I’m not personally going to go, but I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of others who feel comfortable with that. I think it’s a personal decision at this point in time,” said Lindsay Ciancetta.

The Phase 4 timeline is also tied to schools. They can’t open until regions are in Phase 4 and maintain an infection rate of 5% or lower over 14 days.

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