New York City is on track to begin its phased reopening, including opening retail stores with modifications and construction jobs, as the number of hospitalizations related to Covid-19 continue to decline, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.
"I want to signal as clear as a bell, all roads are leading to the first half of June. The city indicators, the state indicators, we're seeing very clear progress," de Blasio said at a press conference.
For more than a week, the city has been around or below the annual average for people administered to the hospitals for the category of diseases related to Covid-19, which is "very powerful," De Blasio said.
"We've brought this down far enough that it actually resembles a typical year for this broad category of diseases, so that's a very important fact," he said.
New York City has seen a 14-day decline in net hospitalizations and a 14-day decline in hospital deaths and it's testing more than 30 people per 1,000 residents every month.
There were 60 people admitted to the city's hospitals for suspected Covid-19 and 477 people currently in intensive-care based on a three-day average, de Blasio said.
Citywide, 9% of people who were tested for the virus were positive, which was a slight increase, but that figure has been below 15% for the last 10 days, he said.
Phase one of reopening allows regions to resume manufacturing, construction and agricultural operations as well as retailers to reopen with limitations, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo previously said.
The city has met four of the seven criteria required by the state to move into phase one reopening. New York City has slowly increased its share of total available hospital and ICU beds to meet the 30% capacity requirement.
De Blasio said he plans to provide more details about the city's plan to reopen in June in the days ahead.
"This is remarkable progress," he said. "We're talking about small smart steps. It will take a series of small steps over time to get back to anything like normal."
When it comes to summer activities, de Blasio has said this upcoming summer will be unlike any the city has experienced in its history. He said that the city doesn't believe it will be able to open its beaches for swimming, gatherings or sports at the moment.
Beachgoers in California and Florida returned to the states' shores "literally like nothing had happened at all," he said, adding that it was horribly dangerous and could spread the disease further.
"I'm very confident that going slowly and carefully with the beaches is the right thing to do," he said.