With more restrictions easing each day, an energized tri-state area is beginning to get into the groove of its new normal. For the first time in months, people lined up to eat (al fresco) at their favorite restaurants in Connecticut, as New Jerseyans stood, socially distant, in line to buy their summer beach badges.
In New York, religious groups of up to 10 people are permitted starting Thursday. The same small crowds are also allowed for Memorial Day ceremonies to honor veterans — as flags remain at half-staff, indefinitely, across the tri-state area to honor the tens of thousands of lives lost to its ongoing war against COVID-19.
That war is far from over. Seven of New York’s 10 regions have started to reopen for business, aware that the slightest misstep could trigger a setback on one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s seven criteria to continue on the path forward.
The governor urges those regions to proceed cautiously.
“Increased activity only leads to increased cases if precautions aren’t taken. Everyone has a role to play,” Cuomo said Thursday, as he noted new daily hospitalizations had hit a months-long low. “If people get arrogant and casual about this pandemic, you will see the infection rate go up.”
New York City and Long Island have each met four of the seven reopening metrics. Both regions have yet to identify and train their complete contact tracing armies; they’re required to have at least 30 tracers for every 100,000 residents. Long Island continues to struggle on the hospital death rate metric, while New York City has yet to make the hospital and ICU beds available that Cuomo says it needs to have to ensure it can handle a potential viral resurgence.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the city is on track to overcome its remaining roadblocks to reopening by early-to-mid June; Cuomo’s office agrees. Parts of the city are already starting to spring back to life, perhaps too quickly for some.