NEW YORK, NY – New York City may slow down its plans to reopen due to concerns about inadequate social distancing and a national increase in COVID-19 cases.
During a press conference on Monday, June 29, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that he may slow the progress toward Phase 3 of reopening in New York City. According to Newsday, the governor is concerned about the number of people who are disregarding social distancing and failing to wear masks in public. Furthermore, he believes travelers from current COVID-19 hotspots may increase the number of coronavirus cases in New York.
Although New York City is scheduled to enter Phase 3 on July 6, Cuomo explained that there are “still issues” the city needs to consider before continuing with this plan. Phase 3 would allow restaurants to offer limited indoor seating and would reopen personal care businesses. However, the governor believes that reopening indoor activities could increase the spread of COVID-19.
To counteract this risk, Governor Cuomo urged businesses across New York to install High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters in their air conditioning systems. These HEPA filters can remove COVID-19 germs from the air, increasing safety indoors. While these filters are optional for most small businesses, the governor is requiring malls to install HEPA filters before reopening to the public.
During the conference, Governor Cuomo also criticized the national response to the virus, stating that the federal government has failed to institute safety regulations and has downplayed the severity of COVID-19. He believes that the lack of federal direction is causing the current COVID-19 spike in 32 states across the nation. Governor Cuomo called on the president to issue a nationwide executive order that would require everyone to wear masks in public.