New York City begins reopening amid low infection rate

(DE BLASIO) "Phase one of the restart begins today in New York City, and everyone, all New Yorkers should be proud, that you got us to this day.”

Exactly 100 days after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said hundreds of thousands of people were going back to work.

Monday marked the beginning of the city’s ‘phase one’ reopening plan, which meant more crowded subways and buses - as many people who had been staying home for months restarted their daily commutes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo gripped a subway railing to show how disinfectants should keep public transport safe…

and told reporters how months of stay-at-home measures and social distancing brought the city - once the U.S. epicenter of the virus - to this moment.

(CUOMO) “Why are we reopening? Because these numbers say we can. (flash) "New York City, nine weeks ago, 59 percent were testing positive. Four weeks ago 10 percent were testing positive. Two weeks ago four percent were testing positive. Yesterday two percent.”

32,000 construction sites, wholesale and manufacturing centers and some retail sites across the city, are now back in business...

(BENHAMOU) "Well I'm very, very excited."

Yossi Benhamou owns a flower shop that is now open. But like all retailers, the store has to abide by restrictions.

(BENHAMOU) "People can still have them ordered, delivered or picked up, walk-in. Of course we have limited space so everyone has to - if they come in one person at a time could be served and have to wear a face mask. Have to make sure everybody's safe with shopping for flowers.”

Cuomo said ‘phase one guidelines’ have worked in other parts of the state and if New York City followed suit, phase two would proceed. That means reopening hair salons, restaurants and other businesses.

But both Cuomo and de Blasio said they would cautiously monitor the spread of the virus… as thousands of protesters - many without masks – continue to swarm the city’s streets as part of nationwide protests against racism.