Offices in New York City reopen

Offices in New York City can reopen at 50 percent capacity and restaurants in Washington, D.C., can resume indoor dining starting Monday under newly modified coronavirus lockdown rules in the two cities.

New York City on Monday officially entered Phase 2 of statewide reopening criteria, allowing a range of relaxations from strict rules first imposed in late March when the city emerged as the national epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It remains among the hardest hit parts of the country with 21,000 deaths and a ravaged economy.

The biggest change for nation’s financial center is that offices can reopen at maximum 50 percent capacity, albeit with a series a safety requirements such as physical distancing of at least 6 feet and mandatory face coverings.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio estimated last week that as many as 300,000 workers will return to their jobs this week under Phase 2, which he called “the biggest” of the three phases under the state’s reopening system.

Its provisions also allow restaurants, including food trucks, to serve food outdoors under certain restrictions while hair salons and barbershops can reopen at maximum 50 percent capacity.

Non-essential retail stores, real estate services and vehicle sales lots also can reopen.

Washington, D.C., meanwhile, began its own Phase 2 reopening Monday under which certain activities can resume with restrictions, including indoor restaurant dining, which can resume at 50 percent capacity.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday the relaxations were allowed after the district recorded 15 consecutive days of decreases in new COVID-19 cases.

The city will also permit the reopening of non-essential retail stores at 50 percent capacity while gyms, tanning salons and tattoo parlors can also reopen under social distancing guidelines.

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