We at The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux, are happy to announce that after three weeks of being in the final phase of the City’s reopening, so far, the curve indicating newly reported cases continues to remain flat. The second surge of spiked cases of reported COVID-19 infections have not been reported in our great State Governor Cuomo has even confirmed New York City Schools will reopen this September. We are so proud of the progress that the residents, government, and Mayor of New York has made to date but there’s still plenty to be done. Let’s break down exactly what Phase 4 of the reopening means and what the restrictions are:
What is reopened?
- Low-Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment: outdoor zoos, botanical gardens, nature parks, outdoor agri-tourism, local agricultural demonstrations, and exhibitions (The New York Botanical Garden has announced that it plans to open under Phase 4, for example.)
- Media Production: all activities undertaken in motion picture film, music, television productions, and streaming productions on set, on location, or at any production or recording site are now allowed to double capacity on set from 25% to 50% with no limits on outdoor filming. This means we will have new shows and films to watch in the very near future!
- Professional Sports Competitions with No Fans: stadiums or arenas with professional sports events, except for collegiate sports, horse racing or auto racing. (The US Open is already scheduled to start on August 31st with no fans allowed.)
- Indoor Museums Can’t Reopen? No. Indoor activities would not be allowed to restart under Phase 4 like it had originally called for. According to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, outdoors has proven to be the area where we’re seeing a lot of things work successfully. Indoors is where we all have concerns. Some indoor activities can exist with the proper restrictions.
There is no Phase 5, but both the Mayor and the Governor will work together going forward to determine a suitable time to reopen indoor arts and entertainment. Indoor dining, restaurants and food service were already addressed in Phase 3. As more research comes out it’s becoming more evident that indoor dining is a problematic source of contagion. As a result on July 1st, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that NYC would not reopen indoor dining. At this point, Broadway won’t return until 2021 neither will other cultural institutions including the Met Opera and the NYC Ballet who have cancelled their Fall season of events. Don’t expect to return to shopping malls, movie theaters or your gym to reopen any time soon. As for colleges and NYC schools, each high education system and the NYC Department of Education will ultimately determine how they will resume classes in the Fall.
During all of the excitement of the reopening, a quintessential question remains: do we still have to wear a mask and practice social distancing? The answer is: YES! Every business, museum, and event has health protocols issued by the State designed for the general well being of the general public. The key protocols include: keeping occupancy limited to 50%, doing daily health screenings of employees, requiring everyone to wear masks or provide barriers if six feet cannot be maintained between two or more people, putting up signs and distance markers, and refrain from the communal sharing of food and drinks, among other protocols.
As the United States surpasses 150,000 Coronavirus related deaths and the numbers continue climbing across the country, Public Health Officials continue to stress the importance of following COVID-19 guidelines. The South and West are seeing the highest increase of reported infections. Summer is nearly over and soon it will be Autumn, the weather is warm and beautiful which means many people are going out, flocking to beaches, exercising, enjoying outdoor dining, planning trips, and so forth. This is ALL great, but it’s important to stay safe, aware and vigilant in applying the lessons learned from this quarantine/pandemic.
We’ve taken the liberty to arm you with tips on staying safe during this critical time, which include:
- If you are sick – STAY HOME. Call your healthcare provider before you get medical care.
- Continue to social distance by staying six feet away from others, especially if you are at high risk of contracting a serious illness like COVID-19 (i.e. have a preexisting conditions or are over age 65 ).
- Continue to wear cloth face coverings in public especially when using UBER, LYFT, mass transit, dining in restaurants, supermarkets, post office, and anywhere where social distancing may be a challenge. In such circumstances, a face covering is essential!
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible, particularly after being in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water aren’t available.
- Follow the guidelines for your area when it comes to large gatherings. Avoid crowds and mass assemblies.
- Pay attention when walking in any city. If you have been traveling for essentials, work, or simply to just take a walk, please pay close attention to your surroundings. Although there might be fewer drivers, there might also be more pedestrians, which means larger crowds and potential for pedestrian accidents. Keep smartphone use to a minimum when out in public and reduce distractions by limiting your use of music headphones.
- Before visiting nearby parks, walking trails or recreational facilities check for closures and restrictions. If open, consider how many other people might be there and choose a location where it will be possible to keep 6 feet of space between yourself and other people not from your household.
- Headed to the beach or public pool? Again, before departing check for closures or restrictions. Whether you’re in or out of the water, stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with. Wear cloth face coverings when are not in the water. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer. Avoid sharing items, such as food, equipment, toys, and supplies with people who don’t live with you.
- Planning to travel out-of-state this summer or Labor Day weekend? Be sure to verify that your vacation state will not require you and your family to quarantine for 14 days when you get back home. If you do get sick, it is recommended that you quarantine at home until the 14-day infectious grace period is over.
The COVID-19 pandemic challenges us as a community, employees, and businesses in many new ways. We have accomplished so much by coming together, working together and standing together. America and particularly the City of New York is the home of the brave and today we are stronger than ever before.
American Red Cross – Stay Safe as Your Community Reopens