The American city that has been hit the hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic lifted the curfew on Sunday, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced in a tweet. Although this happened only a day earlier than scheduled, many people welcomed the decision.
“New York City: We are lifting the curfew, effective immediately. Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city,” De Blasio wrote on Twitter. “Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart. Keep staying safe. Keep looking out for each other.”
De Blasio justifies this decision by a relatively quiet Saturday night. Although filled with protests, there were no looting or riots happening and that’s a welcome sign.
“I want to thank everybody who has expressed their views peacefully,” De Blasio said Sunday morning.
“We’ve had five days in a row, thank God, where we see peaceful protests predominate, an end to the property damage we saw earlier in the week which has no place in this city. Because we had each day a better and better situation, more and more peaceful protesters coming out, better situation overall each day, fewer arrests, I made the decision to end the curfew. And honestly, I hope it is the last time that we’ll ever need a curfew in New York City,” de Blasio said. “So the curfew has ended. It is out of effect. It will not be coming back.”
New York’s Finest Appear To Be Up To The Task
De Blasio thanked thousands of peaceful demonstrators, but also the organs of the New York Police Department that protected them.
The mayor stated that his priorities during the past week had been protecting the right to protest, avoiding the loss of life, avoiding injury, protecting property, and avoiding deploying the National Guard.
De Blasio said he has heard the protesters’ paroles and is committed to making changes. He emphasized that the first move in that process is going to be police accountability. He denoted that two policemen have already been suspended and one transferred after viral videos of their encounters with protesters.
This was a move that brought mixed reactions. On one hand, it’s good that those committing felonies among the police ranks are punished, but on the other hand, many feel that there are far more instances of police power abuse.
The mayor said there was a “small but committed” group that tried to start riots by inciting violence among the peaceful protesters.
He was delighted by the fact that no NYPD precincts were burned, no rubber bullets fired, and no military deployed, as has unfortunately occurred in other cities.
“This has been a very complex dynamic, but in the end, we’re coming out of this week strong,” he said.
De Blasio said police had arrested just four people and issued 24 court summonses on Saturday. There were upwards of 2,000 arrests made by Friday morning, with the most coming on Sunday and Monday when hundreds were arrested as the police tried to control crime in Manhattan.
About two hours after the curfew had passed Saturday night, groups of protesters went on to march in Manhattan and Brooklyn, while police didn’t engage.
New York Is The Hardest Hit American City, But People Still Want To Reopen
Local politicians and civil liberties advocates had called for an end to the 8 p.m. curfew, with their main complaint being that it causes needless discord when police officers try to enforce it. But De Blasio had initially insisted the curfew would remain in place throughout the weekend.
Civil liberties groups had threatened with taking legal measures if the curfew was extended beyond Sunday.
New York City prepares to begin reopening some places of business on Monday, including manufacturing and construction companies, wholesalers, and retailers.
Hair salons, nail salons, and barbershops will be allowed to open with strict guidelines, as all customers will be required to wear masks.
Long Island restaurants will be permitted to offer outdoor dining, but tables must be 6 feet or more apart and staff members must wear masks.
Office workers in Nassau and Suffolk will have to keep 6 feet apart and wear face masks during meetings. Employers will have to carefully manage workers’ workplace-related comings and goings.
Churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship will also be permitted to open under Phase 2, but they will be capped at 25% capacity.
Between 200,000 and 400,000 people are expected to head back to their places of work on Monday.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo restated his appeal for people who were participating in the protest marches to get tested for the COVID-19.
”Get a test. Get a test,” the governor said Sunday, adding that the state planned on opening 15 testing sites devoted just to protesters so they can get results swiftly. “I would act as if you were exposed, and I would tell people you are interacting with, assume I am positive for the virus.”
“We’re going to do 35,000 tests per day just in New York City,” the governor said Sunday during his daily COVID-19 briefing. “So we’ll watch it on a daily basis to find out exactly what is happening.”
There have been at least 211,728 cases of coronavirus in New York City, according to a New York Times database. As of Sunday afternoon, at least 21,323 people had died.