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NYC cleared to play ball, open zoos under reopen plan

July 17, 2020 Associated Press

New York City was cleared Friday to take the next step in its reopening next week, allowing movie and TV crews to film, zoos to welcome reduced crowds, and professional sports teams to play to empty seats.

But malls, museums and restaurant dining rooms will stay shuttered.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that the city is set to begin a limited version of the fourth phase of the statewide reopening process starting Monday. But he warned that New York’s progress is fragile as COVID-19 cases surge elsewhere in the country.

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“I feel like we’re standing on a beach and we’re looking out at the sea and we see the second wave building in the distance, so I want all New Yorkers to be on high alert,” Cuomo told reporters during a telephone briefing.

In the city’s scaled-down Phase Four, botanical gardens and zoos can reopen at 33 percent capacity, production of movies and TV shows can proceed and professional sports such as baseball can be played without fans in the stands, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a separate briefing Friday.

Major League Baseball plans to start a shortened season this coming Thursday, with the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals hosting the New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Dodgers welcoming the rival San Francisco Giants. The rest of the league joins the fray July 24.

New York City, which has seen the bulk of the state’s confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths, began reopening June 8, after the rest of the state.

The rest of the state is already in Phase Four, which typically permits opening malls and certain arts and entertainment centers. But Cuomo said this week that even if the city was approved to enter Phase Four, it wouldn’t have “any additional indoor activity” in places like malls and museums because of coronavirus transmission risks.

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New York City also has been barred from opening up indoor dining, unlike the rest of the state.

Daily statewide statistics released Friday show New York with 776 newly confirmed cases, representing 1 percent of all tests. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Thursday dropped to 765 and 10 people died, according to state figures. More than 25,000 people have died statewide since the outbreak.


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