Major parts of New York City began reopening Monday (June 8) after a virtual state of siege that began with COVID-19 shutdown orders in March.
“As the nation’s largest city began reopening Monday morning after more than two months of lockdown, New Yorkers expressed a mix of trepidation, bravado and relief about this first step toward getting back to business,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The lights are back on in neighborhood stores, the lines are longer at dollar-coffee carts, and the steady hum of construction is returning to the background noise,” reported The New York Times.
Starting today, workers in the construction, agriculture, manufacturing and wholesale trade were allowed to return to work sites. Even retail stores, hit by months of closures, could also offer curbside and in-store pickup.
Life is not the same, however.
While New York City officials said they were optimistic, the economic damage has been stunning. More than 885,000 jobs were lost during the outbreak, and it’s unclear when they’ll be won back.
In addition, the city budget plan has a $9 billion hole in it.
For the U.S. economy, the final financial toll of the coronavirus will likely be a slashing of $7.9 trillion from the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) until 2030, the Congressional Budget Office reported last week.
That number includes the stimulus funding that has been OK’d by Congress so far — trillions of dollars for aid to businesses, individuals and services like testing.
Meanwhile, in a city known for small kitchens — and a cornucopia of restaurants — that part of the New York City economy remains largely shuttered.
The city’s mayor at this point, however, is upbeat and expects eateries will reopen in July. As reported in this space, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We’ll do what it takes to help this key part of New York City, its economy, the wellspring of the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, to come back strong.”
Restaurants are a key part of New York City’s economy, de Blasio said, and “We will provide a massive expansion of curbside seating and an expansion of open streets.”