New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that New York has reached “the other side of the mountain” with the coronavirus outbreak in the state and can begin reopening the economy in phases.
“We’re right about where we were on March 19 before we went into the abyss of the COVID virus,” Cuomo said at his daily news conference giving updates on the virus outbreak.
“We’re coming out of the other side. So in many ways, from my point of view, we’re on the other side of the mountain, right? We got hit with the virus, we saw that incline, we saw the number of cases growing, we saw the number of deaths growing. We finally hit a plateau because we did what we needed to do, and we changed our behavior, and we closed down, and we turned the corner, and then we started to come down the other side,” Cuomo continued.
Some “low-risk” businesses such as landscaping companies and drive-in movie theaters will be allowed to reopen on Friday, when the state’s stay at home order is scheduled to expire. However, many measures put in place in response to the outbreak will remain in effect, including eviction protections.
Non-essential businesses will remain closed in each of the state’s 10 regions until regions are able to show that they have met certain criteria, including enacting social distancing protocols and performing health screens of employees, before reopening in four phases.
“The decline has gotten to a point where we are just about where we started the journey,” Cuomo said Monday. “We have abated the worst by what we’ve done, and now we can intelligently turn to reopening.”
The governor emphasized last week that the state must open its economy gradually to prevent a spike in the infection rate, forcing it close businesses again.
“If we didn’t do anything, you would have seen that infection number keep going straight up,” Cuomo said Friday. “We reopen irresponsibly, you will see that infection number go straight up.”
New York state has seen more than 340,600 cases of the coronavirus, close to a fourth of all cases in the U.S., and more than 26,600 people have died in the state after being infected.