June 8, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, it is a very beautiful day today. It's a beautiful day out, but it's also a beautiful day for this city. This is a powerful day – day 100 of the coronavirus crisis and it is the day that we start to liberate ourselves from this disease, the day we move forward. 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. This was a lot of hard work. Everyone who stayed home, everyone who was socially distanced, everyone who put on those face coverings – you got us to this day and it's a day to celebrate hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers coming back to work today, just the beginning of the restart. But it is literally because of every single New Yorker who worked so hard to get us here.
We have been the epicenter of this crisis. This is the place where it was going to be the hardest to make a comeback and yet New York City is so strong and resilient. We are making that come back and we're going to always remember the heroes of this crisis – first responders, the health care heroes, everyone chipped in, but also the everyday people who made this possible. So, the most important thing to remember today is don't forget the lessons we've learned. We got this far by the hard work and the discipline. We got to stick to it so we can get to the next phase and the next phase and the next phase. So, we're all going to keep doing that social distancing, washing the hands, the hand sanitizer, all of that, the face coverings, all the things that matter, stick with it.
We're here in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is such a powerful place in the history of this city. It is a place of working people. It's a place where people fought for their country in tough times. It's a place where things have been created against the odds. And here again, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was a heroic place in the fight against the coronavirus. Here in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New Yorkers came together to create PPEs, to build things and produce things that weren't made in New York City just a few months ago, but they made them here to save the lives of their fellow New Yorkers. So, this is a great place to be today as we start the next chapter.
I want to thank all my colleagues from the administration who are here, who've all worked so hard through this fight. And every one of us has been together saying we knew we would get to this day, it would take a lot of work, but we are finally here. Now, what comes back today? Construction, manufacturing, wholesale, and nonessential retail now can do curbside and in-store pickup. And we're looking forward to the day in a few weeks where they can go back to their normal operations. Thousands of people are back to work here at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This is a center of manufacturing, including some of the most dynamic companies in New York City, right here. Thousands are coming back to work here today. Remember hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers overall, coming back today to work in the five boroughs.
Now, as we begin the restart, it will not be business as usual. There's work to be done. We have to help businesses to do this right. We're not only going to do inspections and make sure they’re doing the right thing, we're going to help them do the right thing with the free face coverings, with the guides, with the help lines. We're going to help make sure working people are safe because nothing is more important than protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers. So, for every working person coming back to work today, we will watch out for you. And if you see something wrong, we want to make sure it is addressed immediately. You're going to hear, in a little bit, from our Small Business Services Commissioner Jonnel Doris. He's going to talk about some of the measures we’re taking to help businesses get back and get back strong.
But we also know that for the economy to restart people have to be able to get to those jobs. And this crisis has made that harder in so many ways. So, we have some announcements today that I hope will start to lighten the burden and help move us forward and help move New Yorkers around easier and easier. First of all, I announce today, 20 new miles of busways and bus lanes, 20 new miles. These 20 new miles of busways and bus lanes are going to help over three-quarters of a million New Yorkers to get around more easily – 750,000 New Yorkers will have a faster way to work, more frequent service, less crowding. Look, more service equals less crowding equals more health and safety. That's what we want to achieve. There will be five new busways in New York City. Just like the success we've seen on 14th Street, Manhattan, we're going to add five new busways. They will be launching on an urgent basis. I want to see this happen as quickly as possible because we need the help now given the crisis we're in. We have to make it easier for people to get around. They will launch between June and October. It'll be a one-year trial basis for each of these five new lines. If they go well, as we expect they will, they will become permanent. Again, launching between June and October, starting this month with the first one, Main Street in Queens.
And then on top of that, four new bus lanes with signage and markings to make it possible for those bus lanes to achieve the goals we've seen. Every time we expedite bus service, more and more people use the buses, more and more people feel it's the right way to go. They don't need their cars. They can take mass transit. And, again, more frequency equals more safety too. These will be launching between June and August, starting this month on East 14th Street in Manhattan and 149th Street in the Bronx. And an important point, the 14th Street Busway, this has been a success by every measure. I said, we're going to do it, we're going to see if it works, we're going to see, do people ride the bus more? Does the bus go faster? Does it have any negative impact on the surrounding streets? And the jury is back. The answer is, it is a clear success. We are making the 14th Street Busway permanent.
Now, let's talk about another important way that people get around, the Staten Island Ferry. We are seeing ferry ridership increase. That's a good sign. That means people are going back to work. We expect it to rise more now as we go into phase one. And so, starting this afternoon, there will be another increase in rush hour service on the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry will now be every 20 minutes in rush hour. We'll have social distance markers in place to show people where they can be on the ferry and have that proper distance from the fellow passengers. We will have hand sanitizer available for free, face coverings available for free. And as things come back more and more, we will add service to help serve the people of Staten Island.
Now let's turn to the subways. We have been talking to the MTA now over the last week or two, a lot of forward motion. I thank the MTA for increasing the service and for realizing how important it is to do things like have hand sanitizer in every station. We want to see more and more support for people who are using the subways, want to see the same kind of markings, the same kind of distance markers to help people know where to be. But we're going to help the MTA. We are sending approximately 800 school safety agents who will be in stations, educating New Yorkers, giving out those free face coverings, helping people to feel comfortable when they take that subway ride, that it’s going to be safe. And we're going to keep doing this work with the MTA throughout.
Now, I've got a few other things to talk about, and I think we're trying to find the location of our Commissioner because there was a little situation with his drive over. So, what I'll do is I'll finish everything I got. And when he comes in, he's going to speak, okay. Take a different topic now, one I always say brings up passion in New Yorkers – Alternate Side Parking. We have, obviously, this incredibly important moment where we're restarting. We want to try and make things as easy as possible for people. So, we are suspending Alternate Side Parking for two more weeks. Alternate Side Parking is suspended today through Sunday, June 21st. We'll be reassessing in the meantime whether to bring it back or not.
So, there's a lot to do. There's a lot to do, but we are moving forward in this city. Everyone should be proud of the fact we're moving forward. Let's get this next part, right so we can move forward even more. And this is an appropriate time to talk about our indicators and thresholds. And the news today is very good. So, this is such an important day for the city. I'm happy to say we also have the health data to continue to give us hope that things are moving in the right direction. Let's go over the indicators today. First, the daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, that threshold again, 200 patients. We are well under it today at 67 patients. Second, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICUs, that threshold is 375 – today, a good number, continues to go down, 326. And number three, percentage of people tested citywide who are positive, tested positive for COVID-19. That threshold is 15 percent. This is the biggest measure in terms of showing us where things really are at in this city, how things are going in this city, the lowest number we have seen – thank you – the lowest number we have seen – three percent. So that is a great, great sign. But, again, we know that the reopening means more and more people will be close to each other. We need to get it right. So, if we would like reopening, we got to stick with it and make sure we do it right so we can get to the next phase.
Now, Commissioner, have you caught your breath? Or if you need another moment, I'll do the Spanish first. I'm going to do the Spanish first. We'll get a little bit creative in our ordering here. Few words in Spanish, then we'll go to Commissioner Jonnel Doris of Small Business Services.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, to tell us about the support that the City will provide to our businesses as they get started – and we are going to be hand in hand with them to make sure this restart goes well – Commissioner of Small Business Services, Jonnel Doris.
Commissioner Jonnel Doris, Small Business Services: Thank you, sir. Good morning, everyone. Before I begin, I just wanted to take a moment to thank the brave women and men who've been on the front lines, helping us to get to this point – our nurses, our doctors, our first responders, the health care professionals, and certainly our small businesses who have been essential to this process. Our small and businesses are tough and they are resilient. And we are excited for this day. This is a day we've been waiting for. As businesses reopen, SBS is here to provide the resources and services that they need. We have instituted a hotline that is critical for our small businesses. If you have questions and need one-on-one assistance, call our Restart Hotline at 888-SBS-4NYC, that's 888-727-4692. Since launching this hotline on Friday, we have had over 500 businesses call in with multiple issues that we've been able to resolve for them. So, please, if you need assistance, call our hotline at 888-727-4692.
If you need face coverings for yourself and your employees, you can visit us nyc.gov/business. If you need face coverings, again, you can visit us at our website. We have a map of 70 locations where we distributed two million face masks for our small businesses and their employees. For instance, if you're in Brooklyn, you can go to the Brooklyn Chamber. If you’re in Chinatown, you can go to Chinatown BID or to the Chinatown Partnership. If you’re in Queens, you can go to the Woodhaven BID or the Queens Chamber. If you're in the Bronx, you can visit the Fordham BID. Staten Island, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, and so on. And there's a map. You can go on our website, again, and you can get the information there. If you're looking for specific guidance, City and State regulations for reopening, again, you can see that on our website or call our hotline.
If you need additional support and you need to have a training session or for your employees or for yourselves, we do have training and resource fairs available where multiple agencies are there to assist you. Again you can get that information from our hotline. And lastly, if you need capital, if you need financial support as a small business to get you going, we help you as well. We have federal, State, and City funding available and we want to make sure that you're able to get those resources. Again, I'll say our hotline is 1-8-8-8-7-2-7-4-6-9-2. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Thank you Commissioner. Okay. Let's go to some questions. Nice to be in this sunny day together. Yes, Dave?
Question: I wanted to ask you – I know we're really adjusting how we do the follow up.
Mayor: This is the old school rules, Dave, when we're in person like this. So go ahead.
Question: Okay. I'll just ask a couple right off. Do we have a better handle on, you said a couple of weeks ago, 200 to 400,000 people? Do you have a better handle on how many people we expect to come back this week? And my other question has to do along with that, what do you have to say to those New Yorkers – because I've heard from so many of them in the last couple of weeks, have not taken the subway, not going back to the office, I'm not even going to go in Central Park for a walk because it's too crowded. What do you say to all the people who are afraid and don't feel safe?
Mayor: Yeah, no, Dave it’s a very important question. Let me, let me come to that one because I think that's the big, big question. But on the immediate point, I'm looking at Vicki, I'm looking at Janell. I don't have a better number than that 200 to 400 range yet, but I think we're going to get it in the first days as we see who actually makes the decision now that's real. So I think, would you agree that in the course of this week, we'll be able to hone that number? They're nodding behind their masks, that's a yes.
Dave, the big question, so first of all, everybody has to make their own choice and we respect that, right? People have to find their way. This is an absolutely unprecedented moment in history. I think New Yorkers are very pragmatic, very resilient. What they're going to do is watch and as they see things working more and more people will come out. And if they don't see things working well enough or if the disease reasserts, they're going to be more cautious. And that obviously is understandable. We want those who can work from home to keep working from home, obviously. But folks who now have the opportunity to go back to work, what I want to do is maximize the chances that they can feel comfortable on mass transit, working closely with the MTA. The cleaning has helped a lot on the subways. We want to see all these other measures, move the free face masks, the personnel there to help make sure there's not too much crowding, the things we're putting in on the Staten Island Ferry, for example. The bus lanes, the busways, the hope is all of this encourages people to feel safe on mass transit. And the frequency Dave is crucial because if there's more and more trains and buses, people will be able to spread out more. But I think it's going to be a day by day thing. Like everything else in life we want today to be a really strong start. And then people are going to watch. And I've talked to a lot of people these last few days when I've been out in neighborhoods, they all say, you know – I'm hearing a lot of people want to come back, but they're watching to see how it goes. We have to show them they can have that confidence. Yes?
Question: Mr. Mayor, I know you said people are going to make their own choices. In regards to the subway, I'm just wondering, you've been pushing for social distancing measures. The MTA is saying, they're not going to do it. It's not possible. They're not going to even try. The Governor is taking the subway today. Would you yourself personally, feel comfortable and safe on the subway? Do you plan to take it?
Mayor: Yeah, I intend to. So I'll be taking the subway too. I think it's great the Governor Is taking the subway. We need to show people that we think some really important work has been done to make subways and buses safe. And look, I do understand the MTA’s position. I still think it would be smart to have those markers because it would give people confidence. And this is, this is a moment in history, it is not forever, but to show people they can come back with confidence. I think that approach would make more sense. But whatever approach they do, I don't, you know, they don't – they do their thing. I respect them. We're working together. The State runs the MTA. The important thing is that we see people feeling comfortable and I absolutely will take the subway to show people I’m uncomfortable.
Question: [Inaudible] As I’m sure you know, right now, some of your staffers, current and former staffers are marching against you today, saying you haven’t done enough on police reform. I know you spoke to your staff yesterday and talked about some of the concerns that you have. Can you just kind of respond to their claims that you haven’t done enough? And talk a little bit about what you told them yesterday?
Mayor: Look, there's a very big difference between former staff and current staff. Current staff, we had a good conversation yesterday. I intend to spend time with staff. I want to hear their concerns. I want us all to work together. This administration has incessantly been doing the work of police reform. That's one of the things we came here to do. I don't want people to forget things like the fact we have the lowest incarceration since World War II in New York City. Or that we had 180,000 fewer arrests last year compared to last year of Bloomberg. And we got safer. I don't want people to forget those really foundational changes that have been made. But we have to do a lot more. Anyone who says they want to see police discipline move more quickly. They're right. Anyone who wants to say – who says we need 50-a repealed and Albany, they are right. And I think it's going to happen in the next day or two. We've got work to do. There's no question. And I said to my team we're going to do that work. For a year and a half we're going to do it with incredible energy because we've got more to do in this city. And I think everyone will work together to do that. Gersh?
Question: Mayor, the bus lane announcement is significant, but it's about a third of what the MTA requested. Was the MTA asking for just too much or is it too much for you to do it right now in the short term?
Mayor: Yeah, Gersh, look, I'm someone who likes to see progress and celebrate progress and then keep making more progress. So my attitude is this is a major step. The fact that we have proven in a way that – you know, the history probably better than me. I don't think a busway like 14th Street was successfully achieved previously in city history. Maybe I don't know my facts, but I think I'm right. The fact that today we're saying 14th Street is now permanent, five more coming in. It is the beginning of something really positive, obviously between the busways, the select bus service, all of these approaches have been working and that opens the door to a very positive future for New York City. And this is a great time to do it because we got to give people confidence to come back to mass transit. So we're going to do everything we can do, but we're always going to tell you what we think we can do right now. And then as we see the next opportunity to do more, we'll of course do more.
Question: Just a follow up. You said Main Street is the first one? Do we know the other four?
Mayor: Yeah. Do you have a press release? Did they give you press releases? Do you have an email? Gersh, read your email, man. Stop baking so much and read your email. Main Street, Queens; Jamaica Avenue, Queens; Fifth Avenue Manhattan, for a section of Fifth Avenue; J Street, Brooklyn; 181st Street, Manhattan. Yes.
Question: I know today’s phase one, but do we have any update as to how [inaudible]? Are they still there? Is there any plan [inaudible] right now? [Inaudible]?
Mayor: Yeah, phase on is the beginning of something very new. Everything is now going to be reassessed. I don't have an answer for you, but we'll get you one immediately. My impression, of course, thank God is that the need has changed because thank God, more and more people are healthy, fewer and fewer lives are being lost. But we want to get things normal as quickly as possible. We'll get you that update.
Mayor: The what had happened? Okay?
Question: How was that [inaudible] all phase one?
Mayor: I don’t think it is. I think there are stores like the ones I visited in the Bronx that have a lot of work to do to come back and we're going to help them. Commissioner Doris has met with the small business owners in the Bronx and we have a specific plan to get them direct grants and support. I think some of the bigger stores in Manhattan were very quick to come back. I spoke to the CEO of Macy's. He said, in fact, Macy's Herald Square had very little damage. They were able to deal with it immediately. And Macy's as always as being a great partner with the city, they want to really make this restart work. They are energetic about it. So my impression is it was because we contained it with the curfew and the other actions, very minimal impact. It's horrible. We're not going to let it happen again, but very minimal impact in terms of phase one. Go ahead, Gloria.
Question: Mr. Mayor, I want to follow up on Erin’s question. There are some former staffers, but there are also current staffers. So I guess I want to know specifically what you would say to current staff that is feeling maybe disillusioned, like this has been a really hard moment and they're not, they're no longer confident that you will take the right direction in the time that is left? I know that was part of what you tried to address on that call yesterday. But some of those current ones are also marching today, so what do you –
Mayor: I don’t know who is, or who is not as a matter of fact, literally, as a matter of fact. I'd say to anyone, if they have a concern, I want to hear it. And I know the entire senior team wants to hear it. It's been a very tough week or 10 days, very painful, very emotional, a lot that we have to address. I still believe fundamentally after six and a half years of making steady change in the city, people should have faith about what we can do in the next year and a half in a transformative moment in our history. So I reach out a hand to anyone who wants to do that work together.
Mayor: You are going to have to project a little more. I'm sorry.
Question: [Inaudible] In 2006 CCRB specifically cited [inaudible] Chief Monahan for [inaudible] 400 RNC. [Inaudible] Major issue was, I guess we call it kettleing now. It was the same thing going on during the RNC. [Inaudible] specifically cited [inaudible]. Now here we are, so many -- 16 years later, he’s now running this thing and yet we are hearing the same kind of conversation about [inaudible]. Two things -- one, how do you feel about kettling? And then two, what was done after the RNC to address that specific issue?
Mayor: On the history of 2006, 2004 – I’m being very straightforward with you, I don't know all the specifics of what was done after that. Obviously it wasn't our administration. But on the question of kettling, I don't want to see it used unless there's an absolute, necessary reason. I think that kind of practice should be used either minimally or never. We had a very unusual set of circumstances. I'm going to keep saying it because I have seen the facts over and over again. We had a violent element in these protests. We had a totally different element with the property damage in Manhattan and the Bronx. And then we had tens of thousands of peaceful protestors. It created a very complex situation. We've learned a lot from this. We're going to do things differently going forward because we now have seen things that we never saw before and now have a different approach going forward. I want the maximum restraint, the maximum respect for peaceful protest, the lightest touch possible, but we also have to protect life, which we did. No lives lost, thank God. We have to make sure no one is seriously injured. There were a few very serious injuries, but only a few on all parts of this, police, protesters alike. We've got to remember that the job is to get out of a situation without loss of life, without a horrible damage to property. There's things we were trying to accomplish here and very imperfectly, they still got accomplished. We did not bring in the National Guard. We did not use the tactics that some of the other cities use like rubber bullets, tear gas, mounted police. But I want us to do a lot better going forward and we will.
Chief Monahan, I spoke to him throughout this. I constantly was in touch with Commissioner Shea, Chief Monahan, Chief Pichardo. We constantly compared notes. And I want to say again, Chief Monaghan in Washington Square Park did something that I hope will be respected. The highest ranking uniformed officer in the largest, most important police force in America – He spoke to the protesters. He said, none of us condoned and can accept what happened, that those officers did in Minnesota, and we are all in this together and we have to bring our city forward together. And then they said, show us some respect, take a knee with us, and he did. It was a powerful, meaningful moment. And for all the things that need to be better, we also have to remember the things that were right, and that was something right.
Question: Mr. Mayor, this is the first time since you've been mayor that you've decided to cut the Police Department budget to defund it. I wonder if you can tell us how much money you're going to reallocate, what exactly is going to be reduced, and what exactly will you put the money towards?
Mayor: Yeah, they will. And, Marcia, I'm looking you in the eye, and the answer is, no, not today. They will, because in the next three weeks in negotiation with the City Council, we're going to decide the budget for the city. We are praying there's action on the stimulus in Washington. We're asking Albany to help give us a last resort with borrowing authority, all of these questions up in the air. I'm not answering today, because we will do that as a part of the negotiation.
Question: [Inaudible] many, many members of the City Council, as well as the protestors have called for a $1 billion cut.
Mayor: Again, Marcia –
Mayor: It is not –
Mayor: No. No. But something substantial? Yes. And that will be subject to negotiation. And the first thing I want to see it go to is youth programs.
Question: But do you think that the $1 billion number, in their mind is not, is not good for the NYPD?
Mayor: Again, I'm not in anybody else's mind. I respect everyone. I'm not going to give you a number today.
Question: I guess to follow up on Marcia's question. I know there've been calls to return the Summer Youth Employment Program. And then, secondly, I know you and Commissioner Shea have kind of made separate appearances since yesterday – since your announcement yesterday. If you want to maybe talk, not private discussions, but what your conversations have been like with the commissioner. I could imagine someone hearing that their agency's budget is going to be cut. I don't know what that conversation was like. So, what you can tell us –
Mayor: Sure. The Commissioner and I talk all the time. Remember, this is someone I've been working very closely with since 2014. I have immense respect for him. We have a constant ongoing dialogue. Of course, there's no commissioner – no commissioner here would like to hear that their budgets might be cut. And there's the deep fear, Katie, that everyone's budget is about to be cut if we don't get the stimulus. But the Commissioner said publicly since then that if there's one place he would want to see money go, if it came out of his budget, would be for youth programs. He said that publicly, and that shows the caliber of the man that he believes in a focus on youth. He said it months ago, before all this happened – you know, it was a focal point of my State of the City that we're reorienting policing towards youth. We wanted to get more and more activity for youth. With the City Council, we're going to find a way to address the needs of youth this summer. You know, we don't have it yet. We have to figure it out in the next few weeks. Obviously, Katie, it is absolutely dependent on the health care situation and I'm knocking wood, I'm praying that we come through okay. But the Council and people all over the city want to see more for our young people. In April, we didn't know what would be possible at all. We thought things were going to get a lot worse. Now, there's more possibility. We're going to figure that out with them.
Question: I have a question for Dr. Barbot. We've had, say, 13 days of social – of non-social distancing, of people coming together, thousands of people –
Mayor: I don’t think it's been 13 days, respectfully, but continue – you're talking about the protests.
Mayor: I don't think it's about that. I think it's been 10 days, but go ahead.
Question: 10 days is a pretty good usually. The incubation period COVID-19 is like two, three days. People start coming down with symptoms. What's going on here? A lot of people are out there saying, well, look at all these people gathering, nobody's getting sick. The numbers are down. It must be going away.
Mayor: The commissioner comes up, Todd, I just want to say, I think the commissioner will give you the more medically insightful answer, but I just want remind you, thank God, these were outdoor activities, which does change the equation. I still am very worried there might be an impact, but that is something different than if it was a lot of people together indoors. Go ahead.
Commissioner Barbot: So, let me start off with big picture. Big picture, in my opinion, we're still in, what I would say, is a moderate transmission phase, meaning that there are still, on a daily basis, hundreds of people that are newly diagnosed with COVID-19. And in addition to that sort of big-picture framing, we still need New Yorkers to wear face coverings consistently. When individuals are outdoors, they have more sort of flexibility to have more space between them. We want to encourage individuals to continue having the six feet distance, want to remind New Yorkers of the importance of using alcohol-based hand sanitizer. And so, when we have individuals that are outdoors and protests, we need every single one of them to ensure that they continue wearing their face coverings. We, on a daily basis, monitor data that comes to us from each of the emergency departments around the city, and, to-date, thankfully we have not seen any specific or significant spikes in the number of people that are visiting the emergency departments for COVID-like illness, but we are paying really close attention to that. And just to sort of build on something that the Mayor said with regards to, you know, this first phase of the restart, we want to be really clear that it's not, you know, sort of lifting back to the way things were. We still, even when individuals are going for the curbside service, need for them to wear face coverings consistently, to use the hand sanitizers consistently, and to remember that if they are an individual who falls into the high-risk categories, we need them to limit their activities. We want them to stay as much indoors as possible. And similarly, for those individuals who do go outside and they do have someone at home with one of those high-risk conditions to remember that really sort of clear and, dare I say, militant adherence to hand washing is really what's going to continue to save lives. You know, as the Mayor has said at every press conference where we've been together, this is New Yorkers doing it for New Yorkers, and we need them to continue doing that.
Mayor: Who has not gone? Yes?
Question: The MTA had asked the city to flood the subways with NYPD, I think, in part, they were saying for social distancing enforcement. You sent [inaudible] school safety agents, which are branch of the NYPD. Has anybody talked about doing social distancing, masks, reminding people about these things without a police option?
Mayor: It’s not enforcement, I want to be very clear. It's education and giving out free face coverings. NYPD is not doing social distancing enforcement, period.
Question: School safety agents –
Mayor: School safety agents are trained to work with parents, work with kids. They have a different approach. They are not there to do enforcement. They are available, as you can imagine, because school is not in session. We need to send out people who can do this work. We're going to use all the civilians we can as well, but there's still – we're being stretched very thin all over. But it's not about enforcement, it's about free face coverings, education, just reminding people if one car is crowded, go to the next car, that kind of thing. We think that will help. We think that that human presence, that communication helps, especially free face coverings. A lot of people mean to wear it, but they forget to bring it. We just want it to be there for them.
Okay. Who has not gone? Last call – anyone has not gone, not gone. Okay. Last two, then who have gone – you and then Gloria.
Question: [Inaudible] could you address that?
Mayor: It's false. I've said it, I know Freddi said it on my behalf yesterday. I've said it multiple times this morning. I don't know how many times more to say it – false, untrue. I don't know who's planting these rumors. They're wrong. We have a commissioner and a chief of department who are doing their job and doing it well in very tough circumstances. They also understand that we need to make more changes in the NYPD and that is what I'm expecting to see. As to anything being done by outside agencies, I'm not going to comment on that. I'm only going to say our NYPD is going to move forward on discipline wherever appropriate. So, you heard last Friday that charges and a procedure is about to begin from the officers involved in that Lower East Side incident. You heard on Saturday about the two officers who were suspended, and now there will be a further proceeding with them internally. The supervising officer who has been transferred, also there's going to be a further proceeding. Any time that has to happen, it will happen, but I'm not going to comment on other agencies.
Go ahead, Gloria.
Question: [Inaudible] two last questions on police related stuff. We got some reports that there were ICE agents station at [inaudible] in Brooklyn. And there was some video [inaudible] saying that ICE is there to help them. So, I wondered if you [inaudible] on that, do you know about it?
Mayor: No, I have absolutely – I would not let ICE agents anywhere in an official capacity in New York City, except for what they're allowed to do on their own. I've said, ICE agents are not welcome in our public buildings. I have no knowledge and really don't believe that happened. If anyone has evidence of it, I need to know it. But no, we do not want ICE in this city. And in the times when they have come forward, trying to get into a City building, for example, they've been told only if they have warrants and the Law Department approves it. So, we've been pretty consistent about that.
Question: [Inaudible] mass arrests at the RNC came many, many lawsuits and millions of dollars, which the city had to settle. We've seen some similar incidents this time around, people being detained for longer than 24 hours. There was the possibility of that lawsuit over the weekend by NYCLU and others. I know they pulled that back, but are you looking at that at all? Have you been briefed, have you been hold about problems that people had in terms of due process?
Mayor: I heard that there were –
Mayor: The liability issue, I cannot speak to effectively. I have not heard anything from the Law Department on that. I can only say about the human reality and what we're trying to achieve here. There, obviously – again, we had a perfect storm here. I think you cannot leave out of this equation what happened on Sunday and Monday night, that was just criminality. It was people destroying stores and stealing from small store owners in the Bronx, immigrant store owners. People put their whole life into building up those doors. That was a lot of the people who were arrested, obviously, and in Midtown as well. But look, obviously the goal is to not hold people any longer than absolutely necessary. It was a very unusual situation. I know there was monitoring to make sure the conditions were safe and sanitary. I don't want to see us ever go through anything like this again. But the bottom line is, when we're dealing with a truly emergency situation, I believe everyone's trying to do their best to process people and get them out and to make sure people are safe in the meantime. We had to keep this city safe and that's what we did this week.
Okay. Everyone, just to finish up. Look, I just want everyone to keep in perspective this day. This is the first day of the reopening and it was achieved by New Yorkers’ hard work. This is clearly the hardest place in America to get to this moment, the hardest place to have a reopening, because we were the epicenter. Only because New Yorkers went the extra mile did we get here. Now, we've gotten all this way, let's hold onto it, let's keep building on it. We have something really big happening now. Our Test and Trace Corps is now on the playing field, out there, making sure people get tested. Every New Yorker is now welcome to get tested for free. If you need to know where a call 3-1-1. And then, if you are positive, the Trace Corps will come in, find out who have been those close contacts, make sure they get tested, make sure they get support. So, we are going to be really aggressive about fighting back this disease so we can get the phase two, phase three, phase four. I have confidence we can do it, but everyone's in this together. We got this far together. Let's take the next big step together.
Thank you, everybody.