Brooklyn Boro

Brooklynites eagerly await Phase Two relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions

June 18, 2020 Raanan Geberer
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At his press briefing on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that New York City was “on track” to enter Phase Two of reopening. Brooklyn residents and officials are looking forward to the change.

Cuomo’s statement was seemingly contradicted by a statement made by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been more cautious than the governor about reopening. The Mayor’s Office agreed that starting Phase Two on Monday would be consistent with the rest of the state districts’ reopening, but added that he wanted more information on whether the coronavirus has spread as the result of recent protests.

At any rate, any definitive decisions would be made in concert with the state, the mayor said.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, on his website, merely said, “NYC on track to enter #Phase2 this Monday, June 22,” adding that “Daily positive COVID 19 results have dropped from 57 percent on April 1 … to 1.4 today, June 17.”

The Brooklyn Master Barbershop on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope.

In Phase Two, all office-based jobs and real estate services will be able to reopen; retail stores will be able to reopen, and not just for “curbside service” as in the past two weeks; and restaurants will be able to offer outdoor dining — but not indoor seating as yet.

You will also be able to get a haircut, but by appointment only, and barbershops have to operate with a long list of restrictions — such as no beard trimming.

Brooklyn fans of outdoor dining, if all goes well, will have many, many restaurants, bars and bakeries to choose from. Yelp, Tripadvisor and other online guides have a long list of eateries that normally have outdoor seating, from Grand Canyon in Brooklyn Heights to Bar Bruno in Carroll Gardens, from Juliana’s Pizza in DUMBO to Little Zelda in Crown Heights, and from Bakeri in Williamsburg to Café Madeline in Flatbush.

Brooklyn comments on the expected Phase Two reopening could be found on social media soon after Cuomo made his statement. “MC Photo Travel,” attaching a photo of a closed playground at Domino Park, said, “New York City reopening. No playgrounds yet.”

Meanwhile, Ben Fischer said, “Phase 2 news from Cuomo, and now to really drive it home: Signs of life inside Junior’s in Downtown Brooklyn as they prepare to reopen.” A call to Junior’s revealed that the bakery inside Junior’s has been open all this time for grab-and-go, although the rest of the place hasn’t.

Representatives from Brooklyn business organizations also commented.

David Estrada, executive director of the Sunset Park BID, said that the governor and the mayor need to understand that complicated restrictions on retail stores, even after reopening, may be hard for mom-and-pop stores owned by immigrants to deal with. Sunset Park, a heavily immigrant area, has many stores owned by Asian-Americans and Latino-Americans.

“It’s hard to set up the proper social distances when a store has only three employees,” he added.

Mark Caserta, the executive director of the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID, said that “businesses are waiting with bated breath” for the reopening. “They’re looking forward to receiving the paperwork,” he said.

Caserta added that even though reopening retail stores will have to operate at half capacity, it’s a substantial improvement over Phase One, in which the stores (at least officially, although some ignored the regulation) operated with “curbside pickup” only.

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