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New York City Won’t Reopen Until At Least June, Mayor Says

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at a coronavirus press briefing.

While some areas of New York State are planning to allow the reopening of some businesses and services starting Friday, New York City will most likely remain closed into next month, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“We have our daily indicators, the state has their indicators, by both sets of measures we’re clearly not ready yet,” de Blasio said during a press conference Monday. “Unless something miraculous happens, we’re going into June.”

The city must meet seven requirements outlined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office in order to reopen. Currently, the city’s new hospitalization rates are too high, its share of hospital beds available are too low and it doesn't have enough contact tracing available to reopen based on state standards. 

As of Monday morning, a total of 347,383 people statewide had been infected by the coronavirus and 27,837 had died from its associated illness, COVID-19, a 3% increase from Sunday.

While deaths in the city have largely trended downward in recent weeks, it will still take time for the city to be ready to reopen, de Blasio said Monday. Meanwhile, the pause has led to a decrease in rent payment rates in multifamily, office and retail.

Landlords are bracing themselves for June 1, major real estate players have told Bisnow over the past month. It could be a watershed moment for the real estate market amid crisis as government subsidies and savings begin to dry up as the shutdown goes into its third month. 

In order for the city to reopen, it needs to increase its testing capacity to adequately trace the virus’s spread. City officials have been seeking out locations to build walk-in testing centers.

Midtown's office buildings remain largely empty amid the pandemic

But more tests are needed fast, experts say. The Harvard Global Health Institute predicted the city must increase its daily testing capacity by at least 26% without removing social distancing measures in order to engage in adequate contact tracing, The New York Times reported Sunday.

“The central strategic thrust now is going to be test and trace, and we’re going to bring these community-based providers into that as well,” de Blasio said. “We have much less testing than we want to, but we do have a growing amount of testing.” 

The city will be expanding the requirements for testing, he said, but the city is still looking to the federal government to aid in bridging the testing gap. 

“Testing has been the central issues from day one, going back to January when we first called for federal support for testing,” he said. “[We] still don’t have the federal support we need.”

As the city looks ahead toward an eventual reopening, de Blasio has established a task force to advise him on how to restart large swaths of New York City’s economy that now lie dormant.

Last week, de Blasio announced he was adding a construction and real estate council to his reopening task force, to be led by Deputy Mayors Laura Anglin and Vicki Been. On Friday, he announced that the task force would include Related CEO Jeff Blau, ConEdison President Tim Cawley, Skanska USA President Don Fusco and Real Estate Board of New York President James Whelan.