June 8, 2020

What to expect as New York City begins to reopen

Retailers, construction companies, manufacturers, and wholesalers can all get back to business, but some won’t do so right away.

Today is a big milestone for the Big Apple: New York City is beginning the first phase of its reopening.

Here’s what you should know

The coronavirus pandemic hit NYC harder than any other American city, with 200k+ cases and 20k+ deaths. Nearly 900k jobs disappeared during the outbreak.

Other regions of New York state have already started to reopen — the city was the last of 10 areas to hit all of the required health metrics. On Sunday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted the curfew that had been imposed during the protests over George Floyd’s death.

The first reopening phase means retailers can get back to business with curbside and in-store pickup only. Construction companies, manufacturers, and wholesalers are also allowed to restart work.

Businesses must certify that they can comply with safety regulations. About 25k in the city had done so as of last week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

  • The first phase could send as many as 400k workers back to their jobs.
  • The city estimated that ~16k nonessential retail businesses will reopen, along with 3.7k manufacturers.

Don’t expect Times Square to fill up right away

If you’re a subway rider, you won’t have trouble finding that coveted seat: NYC’s transit authority is expecting ridership to be only ~20% of normal.

Many large and small NYC businesses won’t open their doors right away. Retailers like Coach, Kate Spade, Ulta Beauty, and Tiffany and Co. told Bloomberg that they either haven’t specified plans for reopening, or won’t turn the lights back on immediately.

Some retailers are looking ahead to the start of NYC’s phase 2, which could begin in a few weeks — it allows restaurants to resume outdoor dining and retailers to welcome back customers at 50% capacity.

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