As beaches in parts of New York State and New Jersey open, New York City, the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic remains closed. “The City That Never Sleeps” has been in lockdown limbo since its mandatory shut down on March 16.
Restaurants are only open for curbside takeout and often have lines snaking around the city’s relatively empty streets. Hotels are closed to all but first responders, COVID-19-isolators and the re-housed homeless population.
In a press conference on May 28, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would not give a date for the first phase of the city’s reopening but said Phase I (manufacturing, construction and some retail curbside pickup) would happen “within weeks.”
Hotel and restaurant openings are slated for “Phase 3” but no one knows when that will take place and officials are hesitant to give speculative timelines.
During his press conference, De Blasio said that the city’s subway system, one of the largest and most populous in the world, would start to become more difficult to manage in terms of numbers of people and that some riders would “not feel comfortable” riding the trains and buses as recovery moved more riders into the system.
Currently, the city’s bus system is increasingly becoming difficult to manage with social isolation. Front of the bus areas are cordoned off to keep drivers safe and passengers ride for free giving more incentive for hopping on board the already diminished numbers of vehicles in service.
The city has been toying with the idea of making reservations necessary on subways and buses but has not speculated on how such a wide-reaching effort would be implemented.
Currently, travelers leaving or arriving at NYC airports have little option but Ubers, private car services and public transportation to the Air Train to arrive and depart from JFK, LaGuardia and at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport. Regular shuttle bus services from Midtown are still suspended during the city shutdown.