What there is to know
- As New York high school students returned to class on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said families who chose not to take the in-person learning had the option to change their minds until April 7.
- The regrouping zones in the five arrondissements were lifted on Monday and indoor fitness classes resumed. Residential assembly limits across the state increased from 10 people in any space to 25 people outside
- NYC will put money for education from the COVID-19 stimulus fund to bring free 3-K to all districts by September – allowing about 16,500 more children to start school, de Blasio said
A plateau of new coronavirus cases has kept New York City among the highest number of cases in the country, and concerns about upcoming reopenings are growing, especially with the spread of a new strain of COVID-19 in New York. York.
Increasing dining capacity indoors, resuming indoor fitness classes, weddings, and lifting pool area restrictions are just some of the economic recovery measures the Andrew Cuomo government has enabled. to the state to take in recent weeks. With another round of restrictions set to end in April, local leaders and health officials are calling on the governor to wait.
“Right now, New York is in a race between vaccines and variants. It’s neck and neck. And rushing to reopen, getting ahead of ourselves, will only help the virus get ahead of us in this race, ”New York public attorney Jumaane Williams said in a statement. Wednesday. “Right now, with the majority of new COVID-19 cases in New York City coming from highly contagious variants and only 14% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, we need to continue to step up vaccination while reducing those reopenings. ”
According to data from the New York Times, over the past seven days, New York City has recorded an average of 62 new cases per 100,000 population. If the city were a state, that would be the highest rate in the country – and as is, it is still among the highest in the country.
One of the biggest re-openings to date is on track for April 1, when New York City’s outdoor sports stadiums and concert halls will be allowed to reopen at 20% capacity. While Cuomo said attendees will need to show a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination before being allowed in, opponents say the state can wait a little longer.
Citing the third cycle of lockdowns in parts of Europe over the spread of COVID variants, New York University epidemiologist Dr Celine Gounder echoed Williams’ call.
“We need a few more weeks to vaccinate the most vulnerable: the elderly and those with chronic illnesses,” Gounder said, adding that the United States was about four weeks behind Europe in terms of resurgence of cases.
On the same day fans can return to the venue, New York will also lift restrictions for domestic travelers. They will no longer be required to self-quarantine after entering New York from another state or US territory. International travelers will still be required to self-quarantine. On April 5, Cuomo said curfews for casinos, cinemas, bowling alleys, pool halls, gymnasiums and fitness centers could end.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had previously expressed his anger at Cuomo for not consulting these big reopening steps with local governments first and he hasn’t mince words this week.
“We have some of the best healthcare leaders in all of America here in New York City, and they’ve always been clear that there are some things that can be done safely and some that cannot. not be. period, especially when we still have the real questions about variance, ”de Blasio told reporters on Wednesday.
He spoke about the concerns of his health advisers about indoor fitness classes on how they might help spread the virus, but also said there was not much that could be done because the The state was in control. Senior health adviser Dr Jay Varma and city health department commissioner Dave Chokshi both insisted the public should take regular precautions and be aware of the risks.
New York State will lift its curfew next month for casinos, cinemas and some other establishments, but the closing time will still be 11 p.m. for bars and restaurants. NBC New York’s Gilma Avalos reports.
“We talked about some of the things that contribute to risk and how we can reduce it. Outdoors it is better than indoors, situations where you can wear a mask regularly and correctly are better than when you are not, and small groups are better than large groups ”, Chokshi said.
Across the river, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has similar concerns about reopening too much and too soon. With the state ranking first in the country in the number of new cases of the virus per 100,000 population, the governor announced this week that he is slowing the stages of recovery. Garden State’s latest move was to join New York to increase indoor restaurant capacity to 50% last Friday.
“I guess we won’t be opening up capacity for a while now due to the workload,” Murphy said, adding that he thinks things should improve as the weather gets warmer and that more and more people in the state are getting vaccinated.
New Jersey will again extend its vaccine eligibility on March 29 to essential workers in food production / distribution, elderly care and support, warehousing and logistics, social service personnel, election officials, l hospitality, medical supplies, postal / shipping services, clergy and the judiciary.
Don’t know how the process works? Or when you might be able to get an appointment? Check out our handy Tri-State Vaccine Site Finder and FAQs here
Vaccine suppliers in New York and New Jersey
Click on each provider to find more information on scheduling an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.
As of Wednesday, nearly 3.7 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed across the state and more than 1.3 million people are fully vaccinated. In New York City, more than 2.8 million people are fully immunized. This represents about 14.1% of the population, which is still a long way from collective immunity.
The Empire State is set to allow 15 million New Yorkers over 16 to get vaccinated after people aged 50 and over were added to the list this week. However, Governor Cuomo said he has yet to open eligibility to everyone because he does not want to make projections and pledges based on supply estimates.
Connecticut is one of the few states to move forward with immunizing all adults. With the state lifting all capacity restrictions for most businesses last week, Gov. Ned Lamont said he would open vaccine eligibility for residents 16 and older on April 5.
More states are also announcing reopening measures, despite warnings from health officials who have noted the increase in COVID-19 in places like Europe where the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant is occurring. spreads quickly.
While the vaccines are expected to work against the new variants, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky has urged all Americans to remain “vigilant” as the United States is far from reaching the goal. collective immunity.
“We are at a critical moment in this pandemic,” Walensky said during a White House press briefing. “I am concerned that if we do not take the right steps now, we will have another avoidable wave, as we are currently seeing in Europe. ”
New figures show that 43.8% of Americans aged 65 and over are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.