Public Advocate Urges Pause On April Reopenings To Win The Race Between Covid-19 Vaccines And Variants

March 24th, 2021

Press Release

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams today urged city and state leadership to pause the impending reopenings currently planned for April, in order to slow the spread and help New York win the race between COVID-19 vaccines and variants. During a press conference on the issue held this morning with City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine and renowned epidemiologist Dr. Celine Gounder, Public Advocate Williams said:

"Right now, New York is in a race between vaccines and variants. It's neck and neck. And rushing to reopen, getting ahead of ourselves, will only help the virus get ahead of us in that race. In this moment, when the majority of new cases of COVID-19 in New York City come from highly contagious variants and only 14% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, we need to continue to scale up vaccination while scaling back these reopenings. 

"We've been behind throughout the pandemic, forced to be reactive and responsive, but we know what works, and we can win this race if we stay the course rather than declare premature victory. New Yorkers can do their part by getting vaccinated when eligible and adhering to health guidelines. Government can do theirs by keeping those guidelines in place, providing financial incentives to reduce the economic pain of restrictions, and averting the even greater pain that would come if viral spread led to even further shutdowns. I ask the Governor to stick to the science, trust the experts, and pause the planned reopenings now, before they take effect and more are infected."

Presently, several key reopenings are set to occur  in New York in the first week of April. On April 1, stadiums and large outdoor venues will be able to open to 20% capacity, and on the 2nd, art and entertainment venues can open to 33%. Curfews are set to be lifted on casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiards halls, and gyms and fitness centers on April 5.

Video of this morning's virtual press conference is available here.

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