NYC Begins to Reopen. Now, a 'Toxic Trifecta'

The triple whammy of virus, unemployment, and systemic racism pose a new challenge for city
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2020 8:43 AM CDT
After Nation's Longest Lockdown, NYC Starts to Reopen
Storefronts are boarded up along 57th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenue on Wednesday in New York.   (AP Photo/Ronald Blum)

The city that never sleeps is getting back to work. New York City has been in near-total lockdown for almost three months amid the coronavirus pandemic, but it's finally reached a "turning point," entering the first phase of reopening Monday, CNBC reports. Nonessential businesses in retail, manufacturing, construction, and certain other industries are now allowed to start up again, though stores can only offer curbside or in-store pickups, with strict social-distancing and 50% maximum occupancy guidelines in place, per NPR. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he expects between 200,000 and 400,000 people to start returning to work in this initial phase. "Getting people back their livelihood, that's what Phase One is about," the mayor said at a Friday presser.

Despite this good news, much of what makes the city hum is still shuttered, including hair and nail salons, offices, in-restaurant dining, bars and nightclubs, museums, and Broadway theaters. And now that an easing of restrictions is beginning after the city's 78-day lockdown, the longest in the US, CNN notes New York, and other cities, will have to contend with a new "toxic trifecta" that's particularly harmful to black communities—the combo of COVID-19, lots of people still out of work, and the systemic racism that's being protested around the country. (New Zealand is now "fully opened.")

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