NEW YORK, NY — New York City will become the final region in the state to begin the process of reopening its economy on Monday when it enters “phase one” of the state’s multi-step coronavirus recovery plan.

New York City shut down the majority of its economic in March when Gov. Andrew Cuomo enacted the “NY on PAUSE” executive order that shut down schools and all nonessential businesses. With more than 200,000 confirmed cases of the virus, 17,113 confirmed deaths and another 4,702 probably deaths, New York City suffered the worst outbreak in the state.

Reopening is evidence of New York City’s dramatic recovery from the virus, but Cuomo warned Saturday that New Yorkers should not see the step as a return to “normal.”

“You want to talk about a turnaround. This one, my friends, is going to go in the history books. New York was the hardest hit, and in 98 days we have gotten to a much, much different place,” Cuomo said.

“And remember that when you go back to work, it doesn’t mean we’re going to go back to the way we were,” he said. “There’s no going back in life. It’s about going forward and finding a new normal with new behavior and new patterns in the workplace, right? And we need everyone to cooperate with that as they’ve cooperated all along.”

Have questions about what phase one means for New York City? Patch has you covered:

Why is phase one starting now?

New York state established a set of seven benchmarks that regions must meet consistently to advance through its multi-phase reopening plan. These benchmarks include metrics such as coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths over a two-week period, testing and contact tracing capacity and available hospital beds.

City and state officials announced in late May that New York City is on track to clear the state’s benchmarks by June 8.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also determined that the city must meet three “thresholds” for the city’s key coronavirus metrics: daily hospitalizations, ICU bed capacity and the percentage of positive coronavirus tests. The number of hospitalizations must stay below 200 per day, the city must have 375 available ICU beds, and the positive testing rate must stay below 15 percent, according to the mayor. As of Friday, the city meet all three thresholds, de Blasio said.

“Overwhelmingly good results based on all of your hard work,” de Blasio said. “But we got to hold the line, we cannot loosen up. Because [if] these numbers start to move in the wrong direction, we’re going to talk about it. If … they move too much in the wrong direction, we then can’t keep moving forward on our plan for reopening.”

Which industries will reopen?

Under New York State’s phase one guidelines, the following businesses are allowed to reopen: construction, retail (limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off), manufacturing, wholesale trade and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.

The industries most relevant to New York City is construction, city officials said this week. When phase one begins, work will resume at 33,556 construction sites across the five boroughs. City Department of Buildings inspectors will ensure that these sites comply with safety regulations such as: Requiring workers to maintain 6-feet distance whenever possible, ensuring that everyone on site wears a mask, installing visible signs with coronavirus information, providing hand sanitizing stations and maintaining logs of every person who works the site.

“As we restart the economic engine that is our construction industry, there is no excuse to abandon the social distancing and health measures that we know save lives. Our health and safety guidelines are crystal clear, and we will be out in force, sweeping every work site in the city, to ensure compliance,” Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca said in a statement.

How will phase one effect public transit?

City officials have predicted that as many as 200,000 workers may return to the job Monday, and many of them will be taking public transit to get to work.

The MTA will reverse dramatic service cuts implemented on the city buses and subways in March when the economy was shut down, transit officials announced this week. Overnight closures on the subway system will be maintained to disinfect trains and ensure rider safety during the day.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who recently said that riders would have to “improvise” when it comes to subway safety, eventually released a multi-point safety plan this week. The mayor wants the MTA to ramp up service to prevent crowding on trains and platforms, establish capacity limits for buses and trains and install social distancing markers in stations. MTA officials did not commit to implementing the mayor’s plan, but have said they will require all riders to wear a mask and requested the city provide volunteers and extra police to ensure riders are maintaining safe distances.

How will the city make sure the virus doesn’t surge?

New York City will employ a test and trace program with the goal of limiting the spread of coronavirus as people head back to work and may be forced into situations where social distancing becomes difficult.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that the city recently tested 33,000 people in one day and would like to see that number rise to an average of 50,000 daily tests. All New York City residents are eligible for free testing, de Blasio said this week.

Find a testing site in the city here.

The city will employ a force of thousands of contact tracers to interview people who test positive for the coronavirus, determine who else needs to be tested based off those interviews and order people to be isolated as needed.

What about phase two?

New York City will need to keep meeting the state’s benchmarks for up to two weeks to qualify for phase two. Industries included in phase two include many office-based jobs, in-store retail, real estate services and salons. Offices and activities that promote close physical interactions such as salons and barber shops will be limited to 50 percent capacity. Office buildings are also required to take people’s temperatures before entry.

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