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Despite other states’ struggles, New York City set to enter fourth stage of reopening plan

People wearing protective masks during the coronavirus pandemic walk along the High Line Park, Thursday, July 16, 2020, in New York. The High Line opened after having been closed the last few months during the pandemic.

(The Center Square) – New York City will enter phase four of the state’s coronavirus reopening as scheduled on Monday, officials announced Friday.

In confirming the decision Friday afternoon, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also celebrated the recovery but urged residents to stay on alert as COVID-19 remains a threat that will strike.

“It is inevitable that there will be a second wave,” Cuomo said. “We control the size of the second wave, but the second wave is going to be the confluence of the lack of compliance and the local governments’ lack of enforcement plus the viral spread coming back from the other states. It is going to happen.”

It’s not a full-fledged approval, as inside dining and other indoor attractions, such as malls and museums, will remain off limits. Still, entering the final stage of the state’s reopening plan and joining the state’s other regions shows the city that was hit hardest by COVID-19 has turned a corner, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his briefing earlier in the day.

Activities that can resume under phase four include lower risk outdoor attractions, such as zoos and botanical gardens. Those can reopen at a third of normal capacity. Production of TV shows and movies can also start again.

Phase four also will mark the return of professional sports competitions in the city, albeit with no fans in the stands. The New York Mets are scheduled to start their Major League Baseball season at home next Friday night when they host the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

The New York Yankees will open their home schedule July 29.

Schools will also be in position to reopen under phase four, but Cuomo has said the state will make the final decision on reopening schools in early August after districts submit their plans.

Both the mayor and governor said they will continue to monitor when indoor activities can resume but they noted that the rash of cases in other states has been caused at least in part by traffic in bars and restaurants.

De Blasio added that the city will expand and extend the open restaurant program to include 40 more blocks across the city, including Chinatown. More than 8,500 restaurants participate in the program that allows the establishments to place tables on sidewalks and curbs.

That program will remain in effect through Oct. 31.

“We’ve got to strike a balance and we’ve got time to look at the evidence, watch what’s happening around the country, watch what’s happening here in this 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.

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