New York City mulls full reopening on July 1
New York, Unites States: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said on Thursday that the city plans to "completely reopen" on July 1.
Steadily progressing toward reopening, New York City opened its restaurants and bars were to offer 50 percent capacity indoor seating last month.
In December, the city began reopening schools to its youngest pupils. In February, grades 6-8 were added to the phased-in process, followed by grades 9-12 in March.
"We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength," he told MSNBC.
The mayor did not explain how or when the limitations would be lifted, which is a matter for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to decide.
De Blasio said there was still "work to be done," and that having everybody vaccinated would be critical to reopening.
Since the coronavirus first engulfed the city in March of last year, killing about 32,000 people, New York has been subjected to a variety of restrictions.
The announcement represents a stirring comeback for a city that lost over 10,000 people in the first month of the pandemic.
"This is going to be the summer of New York City," the mayor said. "You're going to see amazing activities, cultural activities coming back. I think people are going to flock to New York City because they want to live again."
According to city estimates, 6.4 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in New York. Out of a total population of 8.5 million, approximately 2.4 million New Yorkers have been completely vaccinated.
The mayor said that the aim is to hit 5 million by the end of June.
Cuomo, who has a strained relationship with de Blasio, has recently relaxed a number of restrictions, allowing restaurants, arenas, cinemas, and entertainment venues to reopen with reduced space.
Broadway theatres will not reopen until September.
Despite the vaccine campaign, the vast majority of New Yorkers continue to work from home, and offices are empty.
Recognizing the possibility of new strains, De Blasio said the vaccines are proving to be very effective in preventing new outbreaks of the coronavirus strains that have recently been detected.
He related the success to the "extraordinary" number of people who have received coronavirus vaccinations.
New York City is now reporting new hospitalizations and positive-test rates that meet its reopening benchmarks.
According to the most recent figures, it is either close to hitting or trending toward other "milestone" marks. The city experienced a strong second wave of new cases at the beginning of 2021, but luckily, the rates of deaths and hospitalizations remained well below the all-time highs reached last spring.
COVER IMAGE VIA RAWPIXEL