NEW YORK — New York City began phase one of reopening non-essential businesses on Monday as the region continues to recover from the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.
Entering phase one comes months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo enacted his "New York PAUSE" plan in March, which shuttered schools and all non-essential businesses.
New York City has seen more than 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 17,000 deaths, making it the worst outbreak in the country.
"A lot of people have suffered to get here and a lot of people have died, let's not be foolish now," Cuomo said on Sunday.
The governor said the city has come a long way in flattening the curve and meeting the state's seven benchmarks to lift lockdown restrictions. Those benchmarks include decreased hospitalizations rates. As a result, the region is ready to kickstart its economy.
In phase one, retail stores can reopen with curbside and limited in-store pickup. Construction workers and manufacturers can return to work while practicing social distancing.
An estimated 400,000 people could return to work starting Monday, according to city leaders.
The MTA is also prepared with a 13-point action plan for a safe return to public transportation.
The plan includes increased service, enhanced security, hand sanitizer at stations, mandatory face coverings, and overnight sanitation at subway stations as well as on trains and buses.
A plan is also in place to help prevent a surge in COVID-19 infections.
As many as 35,000 people in the city will be tested each day, and those returning to the workforce will also be tested. People positive for coronavirus will go through contact tracing.
City leaders say enhanced measures will help monitor reopening and help the city move into phase two.
This story was originally published by Rebecca Solomon and Katie Corrado on WPIX in New York.