New York City will drop all restrictions for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) restrictions and fully reopen in July, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in an announcement on Thursday.
In a television interview, de Blasio said he made the decision based on progress the city has made in mitigating coronavirus transmission.
“We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength,” he said.
“This is going to be the summer of New York City. 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.”
De Blasio acknowledged during the interview that state officials must sign off on the plan to fully reopen by July 1.
Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that movie theatres, museums and zoos could open to expanded capacity. Broadway is planning to reopen by September.
Cuomo said on Wednesday that New York state will lift dining curfews in May. Outdoor dining curfews of midnight are set to end by May 17 and indoor dining curfews on May 31. Seating at bars will be allowed in New York City on May 3.
“We are ready to come back and come back strong,” de Blasio said in Thursday’s interview. “The data and the science are saying out loud, it’s time to come back.”
If the plan is approved, July will be the first time restaurants, gyms, shops, hair salons and arenas will open at full capacity since the early stages of the pandemic more than a year ago.
Once the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, New York City’s seven-day average for new cases is now below 2,200 for the first time since November. Cuomo said it’s “stable and going down.”
A year ago, the city had a seven-day rolling average of more than 800 deaths per day. That figure is now below 40 and more than 6 million residents have been vaccinated.
About 50,000 students were allowed to return to public New York City schools this week in the final opt-in period for in-person learning for the current school year. About 40 percent of students in the city have returned to classrooms.
De Blasio said city schools should fully reopen this fall.