FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JUNE 11, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3
Your guide to phase one of New York City's reopening
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
After nearly three months, New
York City is making its comeback from
On Monday, June 8, the fi ve boroughs
entered into the fi rst phase of reopening
following the pandemic. About 400,000
New Yorkers are getting the signal to
return to work in various trades that have
been suspended or severely curtailed for
But no one heading back to work this
week should expect to fi nd the New
York City that existed before the fi rst
COVID-19 case was detected here back
on March 1.
Th ere will be plenty of restrictions,
both in and out of the offi ce, designed
to protect workers, employers and customers
alike from becoming potentially
infected with the illness.
Th e MTA will also be ramping
back up toward regular service come
Monday, according to acting New York
City Transit President Sarah Feinberg.
Subway and bus service was reduced in
late March aft er ridership plunged by
90 percent; the MTA implemented an
altered “Essential Service” plan to keep
essential workers across the city moving.
While regular subway and bus service
will come back online, the MTA will
continue overnight closures of the transit
system for disinfection until further
notice, Feinberg said Friday.
Th e alternative service program for
essential workers will remain during
the overnight periods. With that in
mind, here are the major sectors of the
New York City economy that reopened
Monday, and how it will aff ect you:
Th e long-missed sound of jackhammers
hitting concrete resumed under phase
one, with building equipment, building
fi nishing, foundation, structure and
building exterior contractors all permitted
to get back to work.
Th e types of projects that will resume
include non-emergency highway, bridge
and street construction (emergency work
was permitted during the New York
PAUSE), land subdivision, nonresidential
building construction, residential building
construction and utility system constructions.
But all workers will need to
socially distance and wear face masks
while on the job to prevent the possible
spread of COVID-19.
Some other mandatory regulations on
construction sites include limiting the
number of workers in confi ned areas;
limited equipment sharing; regular daily
cleaning and disinfection of the job sites;
and providing hand hygiene stations.
Machines started humming in factories
and warehouses across the city with the
resumption of manufacturing and wholesale
trade in the following fi elds as of
Monday: apparel, computer and electronic
product, electric lighting equipment,
fabricated metals, furniture and related
product, leather and allied product,
machinery, nonmetallic mineral product,
paper, petroleum and coal products, plastic
and rubber products, printing and
related support, textiles and wood.
As with construction, there will be limits
to the number of workers who can
gather in a certain space. Workers will be
required to wear face masks. In-person
gatherings will be limited; events such
as conference calls must take place in
Each business must designate drop-off /
pickup sites to limit contact and loitering.
Employers must provide free masks
to their workers and establish hygiene stations.
Th ere will also be limits with regard
to sharing equipment.
A litany of non-essential retailers have
also been cleared to lift the gates on their
brick-and-mortar businesses — yet it
won’t be business as usual for both clerks
and customers alike.
Th e retailers that will reopen in June
include clothing stores, direct selling
stores, electronic shopping and mail-order
houses, furniture and home furnishing
stores, fl orists, general merchandise
stores, health and personal care stores,
jewelry/luggage/leather stores, lawn
and garden equipment/supplies stores,
offi ce supplies/stationery/gift stores, used
merchandise stores, shoe stores, sporting
good retailers, hobby shops, musical
instrument stores, book stores and other
All in-person sales must occur through a
curbside or in-store pickup station. Browsing
through the stores is off -limits to customers;
in other words, you’ll need to call in your
order or place it online in advance.
Retailers can only employ enough
workers to operate the pickup station.
Store personnel must wear face masks at
all times and be kept 6 feet apart, or separated
by plexiglass partitions if it’s impossible
to meet that social distancing limit.
Customers picking up items must stand in
a queue with designated markings to keep
all separated by 6 feet. As with manufacturers,
retailers must set up designated
pickup/drop-off areas for deliveries and
limit in-person gatherings.
‘We have to do this together’: COVID-19 fears remain as NYC enters phase one
BY TERESA METTELLA
New York City took the fi rst step
toward returning to normalcy on June 8
when it offi cially entered phase one of its
More than 33,000 construction sites
will reopen, curbside pickup for retail
stores will be allowed and other non-essential
businesses have also been reinstated.
Staff working at these businesses must
continue to abide by New York state’s
social distancing rules and regulations.
While Governor Andrew Cuomo reassures
the public that New York City has
met three of seven guidelines needed to
advance the multiphase reopening plan,
the implementation of phase one has
been met with a range of skepticism from
residents and political actors.
“We didn’t just fl atten the curve, we
bent it, and we did it all based on data
and facts. I have confi dence saying to
New Yorkers that we are ready to reopen,”
Governor Cuomo said.
Mina Patel, a lab technician at
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
(MSKCC), is wary of phase one and
its potential eff ect on healthcare workers
like herself. As an essential worker
at MSKCC, Patel observes people in her
neighborhood who blatantly disregard
social distancing rules on her daily commute
She believes that the moment certain
sectors open up, people will resume outdoor
activities, increasing the likelihood
of a second wave of COVID-19 and causing
businesses to be shut down once
“We might have to work long odd
shift s again which are physically, mentally
and emotionally draining,” Patel said.
Patel’s concern for individual safety
also extends to the thousands of New
York City citizens going back to work
this month. However, city offi cials claim
that precautions will be taken in order to
prevent the spread of coronavirus in the
In fact, within reopening construction
sites, City Department of Buildings
inspectors are requiring workers to wear
masks and remain six feet apart. Similar
safety plans are being introduced within
the retail, manufacturing and transportation
sectors of New York City.
Certain organizations are committed
to providing services to its community
members and helping individuals heavily
impacted by coronavirus. Nonprofi t organizations
such as Business Improvement
Districts (BIDs) act as advocates, liaisons,
promoters and problem-solvers for their
BIDs provide an important link
between NYC government and the neighborhoods
they serve. Diansong Yu, the
executive director of the Flushing BID,
spoke with QNS about the experience of
local businesses in Downtown Flushing
during the pandemic. Flushing, a neighborhood
known for its busy streets and
bustling atmosphere, has become a
“ghost town,” Yu said.
Yu noted that foot traffi c on Main
Street decreased from 100,000 people to
merely 100 on the street — a fi gure he has
never seen before.
Despite having 100 to 120 open restaurants
in Downtown Flushing, Yu is not
optimistic about their survival.
“I don’t know how long a business can
function like this,” Yu said. “Consumers
need to do their share. Small businesses
cannot aff ord to deal with a second wave.”
In an eff ort to aid these local businesses,
the Flushing BID hosted a fundraising
gala in April 2020, which raised over
$18,000. Th at money was then allocated
to advertising for small businesses,
providing staff and owners with necessary
PPE, and attracting consumers back
“As businesses start to reopen, everyone
has to do their share,” Yu said. “We
have to do this together.”
Photo via Flickr Creative Commons/slgckgc