Domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine after entering New York from another U.S. State or U.S. Territory starting April 1st.
- Say their name. Say their name out loud.
JIM DOLAN: Health care workers in Manhattan came together one warm spring night as the virus began to recede to remember the doctors and nurses who died during New York's COVID nightmare. People who lost their own lives in service to others.
- We all went into this for a reason. This is one of the most mission driven times in our lives. So if this is why you went into the medicine, we dive in. We don't step back.
JIM DOLAN: The coronavirus pandemic had seized the world's attention for months. That was all about to change.
- Gangs of looters roamed the streets.
- Looters struck again. More than 700 arrested last night.
- Some lit fires in the street.
JIM DOLAN: A nation devastated by the COVID crisis already was about to be upended all over again.
- People on the street running as police move in.
- The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night.
- Right now as we speak, thousands of people are marching on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
JIM DOLAN: COVID-19 exposed during its spring long rampage a health care system unprepared for a pandemic of its scope and virulence. But coronavirus was new. Something older, more insidious, more ingrained was about to rattle the nation in ways COVID never did. As May turned to June, coronavirus was still the only story that mattered, until suddenly, with one iconic and transformative image, it wasn't.
GEORGE FLOYD: I can't breathe.
- Outrage and anger once again spilling tonight into the streets of Minneapolis after the death by police of George Floyd.
- Back up!
- Brooklyn exploded in rage tonight.
- The tension between cops and demonstrators tonight exploding onto Manhattan streets.
JIM DOLAN: In Union Square tonight, tensions between police and protesters boiled over.
- These protests after the death of the unarmed black man who died after a police officer pushed his knee into his neck for several minutes.
- I'm never going to get my brother back. I just. We need justice. We need justice. Those four officers need to be arrested.
JIM DOLAN: The brutal death of George Floyd while in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis filled the streets of a nation with rage and sorrow. New York was no different.
- My soul hurts because be seeing my people die on video. That hurts. I don't think y'all understand how much that [BLEEP] hurts.
- --the 88 precinct in Clinton Hill. They vandalized police cars and tried to breach the building.
- Foley Square was tagged. Traffic in front of the criminal courthouse blocked for hours.
- Black lives matter.
- Black lives matter.
- But underneath this boiling anger, there was a purpose and a message. Demonstrators from diverse backgrounds--
- I can't breathe.
- --speaking with one voice.
- I can't breathe.
- At least one NYPD officer hurt. Other cops hit with pepper spray.
JIM DOLAN: African-Americans enraged at the death of yet another unarmed black man at the hands of police had also been hit hardest by the COVID crisis. But protesters put fear of the virus aside and took to the streets by the thousands, abandoning the safety and comfort of social distance to demand social change.
- Black lives matter. Black lives matter.
- I don't want to feel scared anymore. I don't to feel scared at home. I don't want to feel scared walking down the street. I want to feel safe. And I don't feel safe.
- Why do I have to worry about my family talking about whether I'm dead or not when I get home?
- Once this is all over with, they're going to come right back to our neighborhood--
- --throwing us on the ground, beating us.
JIM DOLAN: And they were joined as never before by white Americans who recognize their own historic hand in America's social injustice.
- White people need to stop being silent about our racism, and complicit in the structural racist system in which we live, and the White supremacy in which this country was built and continues to be upheld by people like me.
JIM DOLAN: Some nights early on during the weeks of protest, and separate from them, there was looting.
- Some of the most prominent streets, anything but quiet tonight with more peaceful protests, but also more looting.
- All night, we watched these groups of people going from store to store. Many of them were already boarded up. They pulled the boards off, and then broke through the glass. Some were not. They were going through. We saw people looting out of multiple stores. Probably at least six or seven stores.
- The police must stop the looting and the criminal activity. They did not do that in New York City last night.
- Before the night was over, I had treated over 15 people who had been severely maced or beaten back by batons.
JIM DOLAN: There were in the protests some incidents of excessive force by members of the NYPD. An officer drove his police car into a dense crowd of protesters. One officer pushed a female protester to the ground.
- I flew out of my shoe and smacked the back of my head on the concrete.
JIM DOLAN: Another pulled down the mask of a demonstrator and sprayed pepper spray. All the officers in those incidents were suspended. There was violence against the police as well.
- We have new video tonight showing an NYPD Lieutenant getting hit in the head with a brick.
- This wasn't, again, about protests. This was about tearing down society. We had a firearm recovered, gasoline recovered.
- No justice, no peace.
JIM DOLAN: But protesters were overwhelmingly peaceful, passionate and proud, and determined against the odds to change the unfairly stacked world they knew. A common bond of fear forged in a common history of racial oppression, often at the hands of police. So ingrained was the injustice. Protesters had to shout it to the rooftops.
- Black lives matter. Black lives matter.
- We deserve to be treated just like you. My skin color doesn't reflect how I should be treated as a human being. He is a human just like me.
- Justice and prosperity. That's all Black people want.
JIM DOLAN: The two overlapping crises were inseparable because of the possibility of the spread of the virus among the tightly packed demonstrators.
- If you have been in one of these protests, I want to strongly urge you to get tested.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says that outdoor dining will soon be allowed in seven regions of New York, including Long Island.
- New York City now on track for what it calls phase one.
- All riders on the subways will be required to wear a mask.
- 10 days and counting until New Jersey reaches phase two.
- Phase two includes reopening movie theaters, tattoo parlors.
JIM DOLAN: An unprecedented international health crisis was mingling now with a searing national social crisis. New York City was finally moving into phase one of the governor's plan to reopen the state. Other areas were even further along. Thousands were heading back to work.
- We had the lowest number of deaths from coronavirus that we have had since this started.
JIM DOLAN: And thousands more were on the street. The new world it seems would be different. More distancing, more masks. Westchester County phase two allowed dining outside.
- There's nothing like being served and not have to clean up all the dishes and everything.
JIM DOLAN: And on Long Island, people were getting their first haircuts in months.
- My last haircut I was due for right before the pandemic started. So I've been crazed, and I've been feeling like bozo to be very, very honest.
JIM DOLAN: And the protests would force movement, too.
- Governor Cuomo today ordered every police department in the state, more than 500 of them, to reinvent, and modernize, and change.
- This is systemic reform of police departments.
JIM DOLAN: The stage was set now for change. The COVID crisis that altered so much of what it left behind. And the monstrous case of police brutality against George Floyd triggered another tectonic shift in America's social bedrock. Both crises left the nation scarred, different, as a dizzying transformative spring yielded to an uncertain summer, yet seeing the worst of what COVID could offer, and the ravages of an unjust unfair criminal justice system. What we learned from both would define our summer and beyond. For "Eyewitness News," I'm Jim Dolan.