Queens, City Slowly Re-open

Queens, City Slowly Re-open

Photo Courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

“New Yorkers have worked so hard for this progress, but we must remain vigilant in this fight,” said Mayor de Blasio.

By Michael V. Cusenza

After nearly an entire spring spent sheltering-in-place and monitoring morose virus models, Queens and the rest of Gotham reopened this week.

Industries permitted to restart in Phase 1 of the City’s reopening were able to do so beginning Monday, June 8.

During Phase 1, the City estimates 200,000 to 400,000 employees may return to work. To ensure this is done safely and without causing a resurgence of this virus, all businesses must adhere to specific hygiene, distancing, and health protocols, City officials warned.

Basic rules for all sectors include:

Hygiene: Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of any shared surfaces.

Health Screenings: Implement mandatory health screenings for employees, such as questionnaires and temperature checks.

Communication: Create distance markers and post signage throughout the workplace reminding personnel to adhere to phase one guidance and rules; employers must conspicuously post completed business safety plans on site.

Social Distancing: Require 6 feet of distance between people unless safety or core function of the work activity requires less; tightly confined spaces must reduce occupancy to under 50 percent of maximum capacity with all employees wearing face coverings; limit occurrence of all in-person gatherings and meetings, and only hold them in large, well-ventilated areas with social distancing and a maximum of 10 people.

Personal Protective Equipment: Provide employees with free clean face coverings and, if the nature of the work requires, stricter personal protective equipment like face shields; encourage the use of face coverings at all times and require them if employees cannot keep 6 feet of distance due to safety or core work function.

The Department of Buildings, Department of Consumer and Worker Protection and Small Business Services will educate and conduct outreach to businesses as they reopen for Phase 1. To support businesses and workers through this transition, the City said it will: launch a business re-start hotline that will be available for any business that needs additional support or clarification about regulations or resources; release simplified industry guides to help educate businesses about proper protocols; train teams of City officials that will to go out to businesses and provide on the ground assistance; continue to meet with the Sector Advisory Councils to gather feedback on reopening progress and address industry wide concerns and issues.

To ensure businesses are complying, enforcement agencies will conduct random visits to sites that are reopening. They will review reopening safety plans and provide guidance regarding best practices and applicable regulations. Summons or fines will be issued in the case of egregious or repeat violations. New Yorkers can call 311 to report a business that is violating the guidelines, City officials reminded.

“New Yorkers have worked so hard for this progress, but we must remain vigilant in this fight. I know we are all eager to return to normal, and the guidelines for Phase 1 are the first step on that path,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We will support business so they can reopen while staying safe.”


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