After almost three months of lockdown, New York City has begun phase one of its reopening plan on Monday.
According to The New York Times, that means some 400,000 nonessential workers could begin returning to construction jobs, manufacturing sites, retail stores (limited to curbside, in-store pickup or drop off) and other certain industries.
“This is a triumphant moment for New Yorkers who fought back against the disease,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “My message is to stick to it.”
New York City has been hit particularly hard by the virus, with more than 200,000 confirmed cases and almost 22,000 dead.
As CNN notes, at the height of the pandemic, more than 500 people were dying each day from the virus in the city. However, the numbers have since shrunk considerably, with 35 dying on Saturday and 45 dying on Sunday, across the entire state.
“Compared to where we were, this is a big sigh of relief,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, according to CNN.
As the deaths and hospitalization have slowly dropped, testing has improved as well, reaching some 33,000 people recently, according to the Times, bolstering hopes that contract tracing can stop another wave of the virus.
As businesses start to reopen, Cuomo has also signaled that he will sign an executive order allowing commercial businesses to take the temperature of individuals walking in.
“We’re giving commercial buildings the right to take the temperature of everyone who walks into a building. It’s not just your health, it’s the people you could infect,” Cuomo said.