New York City will enter its next phase of reopening on Monday, June 22, 2020 with as many as 300,000 employees expected to return to their jobs as outdoor dining, in-store shopping and office work resume.
Under the state’s reopening plan, outdoor dining, some in-store shopping, hair salons, barbershops, real estate firms and offices in the city would be allowed to open up in the second phase, with social distancing and restrictions on capacity. Playgrounds will also reopen during Phase 2.
The newly reopened businesses will likely offer a jolt of energy to New York City’s streets, which had been eerily quiet as the state’s lockdown orders shuttered businesses and kept residents at home. Restaurants in the city would be able to place seating in curbside parking areas and on sidewalks adjacent to their restaurants, even if those establishments had never provided outdoor seating before.
Beginning in July, the city would allow restaurant seating on the 43 miles of streets that it had closed as part of its Open Streets program. Under the program, roads were closed to vehicle traffic in an effort to provide more outdoor space to residents and prevent crowding at city parks.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the city’s subway, buses and two commuter rails, said this month that it expects just over two million daily riders will use public transportation in Phase 2.
In anticipation, transit officials are urging riders returning to the system to wear face masks, use hand sanitizer, avoid rush hour and seek out less crowded train cars where possible. Subway workers have been cleaning the system nightly and have taken steps to encourage social distancing in stations and on trains.