June 18, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. Today, we have some good news. I woke up this morning and heard that our indicators, our thresholds were strong for another day, because of the extraordinary work all of you have been doing. New York City making progress again today, fighting back the coronavirus. We still have a long way to go, we all know that, but based on the really good indicators we've seen today and for days and days before that, I'm very comfortable now saying that we will start phase two on Monday, June 22nd. We've been in constant touch with the state. We're all in agreement that this is the right thing to do. We're always going to be watching. We're always going to be watching for any variations, any new data. That's also crucial to always keep an eye on the data, but we've seen consistent progress. And it's time to say to everyone getting ready for phase two, get on your mark, get set, because here we go. On Monday, we'll be ready to take a big step forward for this city.
Now, let's talk about what phase two includes. It's so much, it's actually the single biggest piece of our economy. When you think about the 4.6 million jobs in this city back as recently as February, and it's kind of hard to imagine that we're talking about that recently, a thriving economy strongest in our history, most jobs in our history, and now all of the challenges we're facing, all of the struggle that people are going through, that recently we were doing so well. It's a reminder of that we can get back to that one day, and so this piece of our economy and phase two is the single biggest of all the phases and includes everyone that works in offices, retail now in store retail, the traditional shopping in stores across the whole swath of the retail industry. Hair salons, and barbershops – a lot of us have been waiting for that for a long time. So, very happy they're coming back. Outdoor dining, and I'm going to talk about that in a moment, we have very exciting news about outdoor dining today. The whole real estate industry comes back. Vehicle sales, leases and rentals, commercial building management, repair, cleaning and retail rental. A whole host of industries start to come back to life.
Now, each one has gotten a lot of guidance from the State, a lot of guidance from the City. We'll continue to get guidance. We'll have plenty of people out from City agencies to talk to folks in each industry, make sure they have the information they need. We have helplines. We're going to be there every step of the way to help businesses get up and running. But I've talked to a lot of business leaders, they feel ready. They feel like they know what they have to do. There's fine tuning we all have to do, but they feel ready. What will it mean? We don't have the exact numbers, we won't know until we get into it, but our estimate is a minimum of 150,000 more workers coming back into the five boroughs into their jobs – as many as 300,000 as we begin phase two.
Now, I mentioned restaurants. Look, let's start with what restaurants mean to us in this city. This is the greatest restaurant city in the world. I will challenge Paris. I'll challenge Bangkok. I'll challenge Tokyo. I'll challenge anywhere. We are the greatest restaurant city in the world. And our restaurants that folks have fought and struggled – look, just to own a restaurant in New York City is a labor of love to begin with. If you are a restaurant owner in New York City, you're doing it because you have a passion, and you want to do something wonderful for people, and you want to make their life better. And in that moment, when they're in your restaurant, it's such a beautiful, warm feeling that people have. It takes a lot of work to achieve that extraordinary attention to detail. It is not only a labor of love, it is a 24/7 commitment. And I've talked to a lot of restaurant owners. They've been going through so much in these months, just trying to figure out could they keep their businesses alive long enough for things to move forward, and their customers to come back. A lot of them have worried that this would be the death knell for the thing that they built with their own hands, and for all the people who worked for them. And remember, this is a huge industry in New York City. And there are so many tens of thousands of people who depend on the restaurant industry for their livelihood. And we all know, so many people get their start in that industry and go on to do amazing things often, including opening their own restaurants.
So, we have to save this industry. It is quintessential to New York City. It's the heart and soul of who we are. Not just because it's a big part of our economy. Not just because we honor the entrepreneurship of everyone involved. Not just because it's so many jobs, it's part of our identity too. Look across the communities of this city, the neighborhoods. So many of the restaurants reflect our culture, our humanity, our creativity. This is the identity of New York City. So, we know that restaurants in many ways define the greatness of this city. We have to help restaurants come back, and we have to do it now and then keep doing it all the way to the point where things get as far back to normal as possible. What are we going to do? Well, we're going to make sure that we save restaurants. That is the mission, save restaurants. Save the restaurants as part of our communities, save the jobs, make sure it's easy for restaurants to come back. And that means using outdoor space in the beginning and then moving forward from there.
So, our plan is called Open Restaurants – couldn't be a simpler name – and the idea is to bring the customers back, bring their livelihoods of the people that work there back, bring the money in to keep the restaurants going, obviously doing it in a safe way. We all want safety first. We all have learned powerful lessons about how important it is to fight back against this disease and understand its power. But New Yorkers have really, really gotten the point so profoundly. And I know restaurant owners, restaurant workers, get it, that they need to be agents of safety. They need to make sure that their patrons are safe. Their workers are safe. We're going to make it work. And outdoor dining is the way forward. So, we've got a lot to do. And we know that with outdoor dining, it's a new reality. We've had it before, but the way we have to do it now, is very new and different, but we're ready. And we want to make sure I'm going to say this several times. And I know my colleagues will say it too. We want this to be a simple, fast, easy process for restaurant workers, restaurant owners, restaurant managers. We need to make it simple for it to work. I've heard from plenty of folks in the restaurant industry. If we're going to take this step, don't make it complicated, don't make it bureaucratic, make it easy. I think when you see what we have here today, you're going to agree. This is a straightforward and easy. This will work for you.
Okay, now, for restaurants and for any bars and cafes that serve food, we have five options and they can go and use many of these options if they want to, but five different ways to help them come back. First, curb lane seating. This means that we're going to allow wherever appropriate restaurants to use what would have been the curb area of the parking area, right adjacent to the restaurant. They'll be able to use that to put in seating, and that's something we will do through Labor Day on a pilot basis. Sidewalk seating. That means we're going to allow restaurants to add sidewalk seating adjacent to the restaurant facility itself, to the building itself. Even those that have never had it before. Backyard and patio seating. A lot of restaurants have this. It's a chance to use it in a whole new way, a safe way. That's going to help for a lot of restaurants to bring in more customers. And those pieces will all begin as we begin phase two on Monday. Now, another piece we're going to work up in the coming days, and it's going take a little more work, but we're confident we can get there. On our open streets, there are locations where we can do restaurant seating. That's something that we're going to work out in the coming days. And that will be for nights and weekends, beginning in July. And there are pedestrian plazas managed by business improvement districts, and managed by local civic associations. In some cases, those organizations will want to work with neighboring restaurants to turn those into seating areas. So, the restaurants can expand into those pedestrian plazas. Wherever there is a bid or a local civic association that runs a plaza and wants to make it work, they can reach out to the department of transportation and apply, and we'll move on that application quickly, and they can do it simply by emailing email@example.com.
So, five different elements to the open restaurants plan. Want to thank all of the city agencies have been involved. It's been a labor of love for them to, to get this ready and get it ready in a way that be simple and easy to use. I also want to thank the city council. They've been passionate on this issue. We've been working together with the council to figure out the right way forward, and I think this reflects the vision that we've all had. You're going to hear in a moment from several experts on what's about to happen. Two of our commissioners, and a leader in the restaurant field. But I want to just, before I turned to them, make very clear, simplicity. The application will be simple. It will be online. It will take very few clicks to get done. You self-certify. I want restaurants to understand that. You self-certify. Once you say, hey, I'm ready to do this, I meet these standards, click send, you're in. You're ready to go for Monday. The application form is being finalized. It'll be up online first thing tomorrow morning, it will take you literally only minutes to apply. And then you only have to wait for that reply to come back, it should be instantaneous, saying we got it, you're in yourself certified, good luck, go get them.
Also, very importantly, restaurants will not need to do a separate application to the State liquor authority. This is actually a big deal for restaurants – one application through the City of New York will cover your needs with the State liquor authority as well. And I want to thank the State and the SLA for their cooperation on that, we want to make this simple. And all the folks that put this together, all the hard work's being done at a Small Business Services at Department of Transportation, we also know that as much as they've made this simple people going to need help, they're going to need information, they're going to need some place to turn. So Small Business Services has a hotline that will be there for all restaurant owners and managers to get answers, 888-SBS-4NYC, anyone who has a question or concern about how to apply, what it means can turn to that hotline. What do we think this will mean? We think this will help save at least 5,000 New York City restaurants, and I want to emphasize this help save them, meaning help, keep them in business, help stop them from shutting down and help give them a future 5,000 or more restaurants, we believe we'll get the revenue they need through this open restaurants initiative to keep going to the future, 45,000 workers will have their jobs preserved through this initiative. These are huge numbers, and it says so much about the future of the City that we can help to make sure that people who want to keep these crucial businesses going, you have to have that helping hand workers need those jobs have a way back to those jobs, and we do it quickly. And here's an executive order, which I'm going to sign now, which will now take the open restaurants and put it into action immediately.
So, now I want you to hear from the experts. And first, we have been working with the restaurant industry and those who advocate for restaurant owners and workers from the beginning. We worked together to ease the delivery fee burden for restaurants, we work with the Council on that for as well, just in the last month. Our next speaker founded the New York City Hospitality Alliance in 2012, and is now an extraordinary organization representing small businesses all over the five boroughs, and so many of the restaurants that we all depend on. I want to introduce to you as he comes over the Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, Andrew Rigie.
Executive Director Andrew Rigie, New York City Hospitality Alliance: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Wow, you know, going back to my great grandparents, we had bakeries and cafes in Brooklyn and Queens, and I've been working for the past 15 or 16 years advocating on behalf of this industry. And we have gone through a lot, but the COVID-19 pandemic has hit this industry in our city, in our globe in a way that we can never fathom. And we all know as the Mayor put it, these restaurants are vital to the economic fabric and social landscape of the City of New York, and there's no way that our city will recover unless these small businesses are at the core of their recovery. So, I want to thank the Mayor, the Commissioners, Council Speaker, Cory Johnson, and the council community boards, BIDs, New Yorkers, business owners, and really everyone who has been so vocal in their support for this initiative. We know it is going to be a long road to recovery, and when restaurants are permitted to start opening indoors, it's going to be under reduced occupancy. So, they're not going to be able to generate a hundred percent of their sales indoors. So, we needed to get creative with outdoor space, and this plan that has been implemented today is so critical in getting the support to businesses so they can stand a fighting chance and coming back, rebuilding our industry, bringing New Yorkers from all walks of life, back to work and creating the city that we remember, and it's important. We need to have a streamlined process, we can't have lots of red tape, we need to support our small business owners in every way possible. And it's also going to be critically important that the small business owners, the workers, the community, the resident all work together to ensure that this program works well because there's so much opportunity and it will.
And we just want to say again, thank you to our teams, the Alliance team, our counsel, Rob Bookman restaurant tours throughout the city, and everyone that wanted to make this happen in a sensible way and open a restaurant will help do that. It's so important, we could not, not act. And the fact that we're here today with this executive order, getting ready for phase two on Monday, means so much to these businesses, to these workers, to New Yorkers who want to get back to a sense of reality and eating and drinking. So, I want to say thank you. The New York City Hospitality Alliance is here to support in every way we can to get our city back on track, our small businesses open. So, thank you, Mr. Mayor, thank you to all that made this happen. And we can't wait to see you at an outdoor cafe at a restaurant in New York City through the five boroughs and an equitable plan, equitable plan that really works for so many people. So, thank you.
Mayor: Thank you, Andrew. Thank you for your infectious enthusiasm and thank you for all the hard work, getting us here now, to give you a sense of how this is going to work some of the specifics of how we're going to make this work and work fast. First of all, a woman who's in charge of not only of our streets, but our sidewalks as well, Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg
Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Department of Transportation: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. And if we could put up the next slide, and this is – this is just a graphic to help folks think to a certain – and I want to echo what the Mayor said, this is a labor of love for DOT as well. Obviously, as the Mayor mentioned, we had the templates of open streets where I think we found they're really nimble and non-bureaucratic way of opening our streets up for walking and biking. And the mayor challenged us to figure out how to do that quickly and in a non-bureaucratic way for restaurants, and I'm proud to say with our partners at SBS and industry partners, I think we've done so, this just gives you a sort of, this is a rough sketch of, of how we envision this working the table space in front of the restaurant frontage and in those curb spaces in front of the restaurant tables socially distance. And if you will go on our application tomorrow, we'll have obviously much more detail about how to set that up. But our goal was to make it as simple and affordable as set up as we could while particularly being sure in street space that it's done safely. We'll just jump to the next slide, just a little more detail, and I think the mayor gave the good picture of all the different options we're going to have on the table. Obviously, we want to be nimble, but we have to make sure that they're, you know, that they're pedestrian pass on the sidewalks that we're meeting ADA compliances again, that our curb lean seating is safely set up. You know, we are also looking forward to open streets and plazas and we'll be in the coming days, rolling out the details on those. Next – next slide –
So, tomorrow as the Mayor mentioned, we will put an application online. As he said, he has pushed us. It is going to be a quick and easy application, we will be asking you to certify though that you understand the rules that you will put in your, your SLA information, and then you'll be good to go. And, you know, we – wait, I think we just, we just skipped one there, right? So, just again to emphasize, DOT will not be calling you all up or SBS and talking through the application, you will do it online. There will be a hotline number to call questions, but once you filled it out, you can start, and we look forward to an incredible partnership with the thousands of restaurants here. And again, thank you, Mr. Mayor, we're thrilled to offer the streets and sidewalks to help our, our cherished restaurants come back to life.
Mayor: Thank you very much, Commissioner. Now to talk about how the Department of Small Business Services is going to help so many restaurants as they come back and be there for them with any questions and concerns our Commissioner for Small Business Services Jonnel Doris.
Commissioner Jonnel Doris, Small Business Services: Thank you, sir. New York City is home to 27,000 restaurants as we know, and they need our support. We've been doing that with our phase one businesses and we're looking forward to helping our small businesses as they open in phase two particularly our restaurants. Today we are announcing that we have another 2 million face coverings for distribution to our small businesses, we also have already distributed 2 million and so this will bring our total to 4 million face coverings for our small businesses. Moving into the next phase, we are doing all we can to support our vibrant restaurant community as mentioned, and we are launching today, our PPE and reopening supply marketplace as well. Again, that's a one stop shop for easy access to supplier’s face mask and coverings, face shields gloves, cleaning and disinfecting products, physical barriers, portable furniture and more. We will continue to build this marketplace as we move forward. This resource is available right now, at nyc.gov/business, again, nyc.gov/business. Again, today we are launching a new phase two industry specific guides which described the broad state requirements in plain language. For example, if you were a barbershop, we will tell you, you know, you can make an appointment instead of taking walk-ins that will help you stay safe and your customers safe. So, these industry-specific guides will be helpful to our businesses as they reopened. We are also launching a centralized restaurant reopening page resource page with guidance and best practices for restaurants and industries across all five boroughs. Again, this will be available on our nyc.gov/businesspage. So, if you are a restaurant and you are opening, we have a specific page for you, and that is also on our nyc.gov/businesspage. Starting next week, we will launch our new educational webinars and training sessions for our phase two reopening businesses. And we are looking forward for you to sign up, we've done a few of these already in phase one, we've had several hundred participants and we look forward to businesses in phase two to participate in those webinars. Also during phase two, we are – we'll be offering a resource fair and series of livestream conversations with business owners; so we want to make this practical and real for you and if you are able to join us again, you can get us at nyc.gov/business to sign-up for it.
I want to end by saying, most importantly, our hotline is here to help our small businesses. Since we started the hotline, we had over 10,000 calls already to that hotline and we are able to help those businesses as they re-open. So, the hotline once again is 888-SBS- 4NYC – that's 888-727-4692. Thank you.
Mayor: Thank you very much, Commissioner. And thank you to everyone. Look, as we get so ready for Monday – everyone's ready for Monday, for phase two to begin. Just want to remind everyone, every one of us, and that includes, of course, the bar and restaurant owners and the managers, the folks that work there, and all of you who patronize the bars and restaurants and cafes in your community; we want to keep moving forward. That means we need to get it right. So, phase two begins Monday. Up until Monday, please respect the rules that are in place that are part of phase one. We're going to have lots of ambassadors out, lots of people out giving [inaudible] face coverings, reminding people to keep their social distancing and if we have to enforce, we will. It's never what we want to do. We never want to give a summons and, and add additional financial burden, but the point to everyone is do it the right way so we don't need to do that kind of enforcement. If we see problems, we're going to address them this weekend. And then as we go into phase two, again, light touch, self-certification, we want to make it work; we want to get money back in the pockets of restaurant owners, but please everyone respect the rules in the name of health and safety because the last thing we want is for this disease to make a comeback and that'll set us all back and we'll be watching all the time. We'll be watching the data all the time. So, everyone believe that you are part of the solution. Be smart, be responsible, help us all move forward.
Now, we talked about protecting our restaurants, protecting our small businesses. Now let's talk about people who really need protection in this city – our tenants. Our tenants have gone through so much for years and years in the city, particularly since the coronavirus hit. We know that so many people are struggling just to make ends meet and so we have to do things constantly to address that need. Let's talk about rent stabilized tenants – over a million apartments are rent stabilized in New York City. That means well over 2 million New Yorkers live in rent stabilized housing. The folks who live in rent stabilized housing, so many have lost paychecks, have lost their livelihood, need relief in any form and what they need, what they deserve is a rent freeze. And I'm very pleased to announce that last night that's exactly what our Rent Guidelines Board did. You know, I named the members of the Rent Guidelines Board and I've said since the beginning of the administration, we have to do things differently. We have to not just look at the needs of landlords, which is what the history was only looking at the needs of landlords; we actually need to look at the needs of tenants. We need to make sure that the people that make this city run - the everyday working people in New York City – that their needs are taken into account. The Rent Guidelines Board did exactly that and they decided on a rent freeze and that is such important news for working people. One additional step to make sure you can keep a roof over your head; to make sure that you can somehow make ends meet as we fight back and bring back this economy. The renters of New York City deserved a rent freeze and now for over 2 million New Yorkers, you have that rent freeze. Thank you to the Rent Guidelines Board for doing the right thing.
Now, phase two is going to mean a lot more people coming back to work. Phase two is going to mean a huge step forward for our economy. But you know what, beyond the working people, beyond the businesses, let's go to the neighborhoods that our city everyday people what do they need? And I know so many parents have been asking for relief as well, so many parents with young children who have been cooped up. Parents have been saying, when do we get relief too? Well, look, I want to say from the beginning, there's a profound difference in terms of how we protect safety and different kinds of facilities, different types of areas that people congregate in New York City. There's still things we're not comfortable seeing like large gatherings. We're not comfortable with sporting events starting up yet. The day will come because we're making steady progress and we got a hold to that progress. So, there's a lot of things that still cannot yet happen in our parks, but for the playgrounds meant for younger children with the playground equipment, that's specifically meant for kids to get a break, get some exercise – for parents, to be able to get their kids outside. Those playgrounds for younger kids we're ready to open those up on Monday. Those will be a crucial part additionally of phase two. I know what it feels like as a parent to have young kids and to deal with all the challenges every parent deals with, especially if you have multiple young kids and it's been months and months of being cooped up, we want to give this relief. We're going to start with those playgrounds for younger kids and then hopefully sometime soon we can go even farther in terms of our parks and all of the athletic facilities they have. Now, to make sure it works, we're going to have social distancing ambassadors out all around. They're going to be out reminding people about distancing, giving out the face coverings, helping parents to remember all those basic hygiene rules they really matter with kids. If they're out in the playground, really important to use the hand sanitizer, wash hands afterwards, all sorts of precautions that need to be taken, but we believe we can make it work safely and it's another step in the right direction, starting on Monday.
And now, to finish up our indicators. So, this is why we have gotten this far because of the data, because of the facts, and, again, you have earned it. So, number one, the daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19 – threshold of 200 patients and today that number is 59. Number two is daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICUs – a threshold of 375 – today, 320. And most importantly, percentage of people testing positive for COVID city wide; threshold of 15 percent – another great report today, only two percent. Congratulations to all let's keep it that way.
A few words in Spanish –
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, we'll turn to questions from the media. Please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.
Moderator: Hi, all. Just a reminder that we have Transportation Commissioner Trottenberg, Small Business Commissioner Doris, and Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance Rigie here in person. And we also have Senior Advisor Dr. Varma on the phone. With that, I will start with Emily from NY1.
Question: Good morning, Mayor de Blasio. I hope you're well.
Mayor: Hey Emily, how you doing?
Question: Good, thank you. I wanted to ask you about the bill in the City Council to ban choke holds the one that's been languishing in the council since 2014. It looks there's a veto proof majority, but this, is this legislation that you will sign? Councilmember Lancman has been talking about exceptions that your administration has been trying to get into the legislation.
Mayor: Yeah, Emily, I've worked on this closely in the last few days and been in constant touch with our Police Commissioner and I'm now convinced this is the right legislation to move forward with and I will sign it. When I look at the way we need to move forward in this city this legislation makes sense. It's the right thing to do. We have to give people confidence that policing will be fair and I'm convinced this legislation will do it and I will be signing it.
Moderator: Emily, do you have a follow-up?
Question: I appreciate you, Mayor. Thank You.
Mayor: Thank you and let me just break in for one quick second. I got handed a note and this is a really wonderful development. Don't have the details yet, but the Supreme Court just ruled that the Trump administration's actions related to DACA, related to the DREAMers were unconstitutional. And as I understand it, that means that the DACA program will now go back to its original form from the Obama era. That's a huge, huge step for the people of this city. This is to me, one of these issues that says so much about the distance between where we are and where we need to go. Dreamers, who are part of our city, part of our country, need to know that they will have a bright future here, and we've been fighting this fight – I think this is the leading edge of how we get to comprehensive immigration reform. So the fact that the Supreme Court has actually taken the step in the right direction, and so many people are now going to have a confidence about their futures. This is really amazing, even against the backdrop of so many challenges, so many concerns, it's an extraordinary step in the right direction, and I think it is a beginning of the much bigger changes we need.
Moderator: Next, we have Gersh from Streetsblog.
Question: How are you Mr. Mayor?
Mayor: Hey Gersh, how are you doing?
Question: Well, could be better, but hey, I just want to, it might be a question for Commissioner Trottenberg. It might be a question for you – either or. So I do want to know how many spaces along the curbside that people traditionally call parking spaces might actually be used for this open restaurants plan, and specifically to the Mayor, is this the first step in having you see the curbside as public space for more than free car storage?
Mayor: Gersh, look, we are going to look at anything and everything – what makes sense for the city of the future, and I've said to you many times, what is clear is when we come out of this crisis, it needs to be the beginning of a very different city and a city that focuses even more on mass transit. The future of the City of New York is not the automobile, it's mass transit, and we're going to look at any and all options to help us move in the right direction. But I think it's important to also see this as an immediate urgent action that we're going to take through Labor Day to help these restaurants survive and move forward. Commissioner, do you want to add?
Commissioner Trottenberg: No, I think Gersh, you know, we've actually taken quite a bit of parking and repurposed it for bus lanes, bike lane, Citi Bikes. So, this is I think part of a development of something that's already been happening in the city. I think there's going to be some thousands of parking spaces. I think we'll know as we start to see the uptake, but I know the Mayor feels pretty strongly that this is a great trade off to help our restaurant business get up and going, and obviously if this is a model that proves successful, we'll see how much of it might endure you know, after Labor Day.
Mayor: And Gersh. I want to ask you a question to see, because you're, you're very knowledgeable in your area. How many parking spaces are there in New York City, Gersh?
Question: Well it depends on if you mean free car storage, but it's about three million, if I'm not mistaken, Mayor.
Mayor: Gersh, he got it. I'm impressed.
Commissioner Trottenberg: I've said it before.
Mayor: I know, but he was paying attention very well done. Gersh. Well done. Three million parking spaces approximately is correct. Did you have a follow-up?
Question: No, I did not, but I appreciate you taking the question.
Mayor: Thank you.
Moderator: Next, we have Jake from Gothamist.
Question: Morning, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Hey Jake, how are you doing?
Question: I'm doing all right. So earlier this month we'd asked you about the mass arrest of protesters in the South Bronx, on June 4th. You kind of insisted that the NYPD had acted effectively [inaudible] to where City Hall observers and saw a different reality on the ground. This morning, we reported the Mayor's Office had staffers who are stuck in that kettle, who personally observed instances of police brutality. Emails show your closest aides and Deputy Mayors were on a thread in which they were, they knew that City Hall staffers were permitted to leave. So, I'm wondering, had you spoken to the City Hall staffers when you praised the NYPD’s actions and if not, why?
Mayor: No. Jake, I spoke to the Deputy Mayor who was there and again, that whole reality of what happened that night is going to be investigated by the Attorney General, by the review being done by DOI and Corp. Counsel. I want to know exactly what happened. What I received – the information I received that night was as you know about the danger of violence, but if anything else happened that wasn't appropriate, I want to hear the whole truth and we'll act accordingly, and if there are any individual staffers that have information, I want to hear it and I'll instruct my team to make sure that it's brought to my attention immediately.
Question: Okay, my second question is both for you and Commissioner Trottenberg. Across the city, we're seeing that the NYPD has barricaded streets in front of police precincts. They're telling New Yorkers they can't walk on entire blocks if they don't have proof of address that they live there. In other cases, the NYPD has taken over public sidewalks with their personal and police vehicles. Did the Mayor's Office give the department permission to do this? Did the DOT give the department permission to do this? And if not, will you tell police precincts to reopen public streets and sidewalks to New Yorkers?
Mayor: Jake, I’ll start and pass to the Commissioner. Again, we were dealing with a host of profound challenges and obviously distinct threats that were made, violent threats that were made that unfortunately, there was a lot of evidence were very real. So the actions taken in the midst of a crisis situation don't reflect what we would do in everyday reality. [Inaudible] of the matter is anytime that we are convinced there's no longer a problem, of course, we want to remove any such barriers, but whether there is a possibility of violence job one is to protect people's lives and stop violence.
Commissioner Trottenberg: I don't know if I have much to add. I mean, NYPD does not come to DOT when they close up streets or sidewalks. So, I think would be up to the Mayor to direct them otherwise.
Moderator: Next we have Rich from WCBS 880.
Question: Okie dokie. Good morning.
Mayor: Good morning, Rich. How you doing?
Question: I'm doing all right. So, Mr. Mayor I just wondered that yesterday – so about an hour after you sounded optimistic, but a little bit cautious note about Phase Two reopening the Governor indicated the city is on track for a Monday Phase Two. Have you – did you have a conversation with the Governor after that? Or how did you make this decision in regard to a Phase Two?
Mayor: Yeah, Rich, it's been a back and forth with the Governor, his team now over the last week or more, and there's been I really believe a high degree of unity on the fact that we want to get to Phase Two as quickly as possible. I sounded a cautious note cause my general approach to life is where you're not sure or something lower expectations a little bit. I think most human beings, most New Yorkers would rather have their expectations lowered rather than have them brought up high and then disappointed. But the fact is what we all wanted to do was watch the individual daily indicators. There's still an issue, as we've said before, what we might see over the weekend as a result of the impact of Phase One, as a result of the impact of the protests. I mean, those are both very important factors. Phase One is actually by far the more important factor, cause it's many more people every single day. But when we saw the trend line this week and the conversations we had yesterday were about the consistency of the trend line. I said, look, let's check this morning. Let's see if we this morning, see the same thing again. We see exactly the same thing, again, it's time to move forward, and if anything comes up in the data that's a concern, as usual, we're going to talk about it publicly and you know, make adjustments accordingly.
Question: Okay. I have a second question, different topic if you will. Illegal fireworks are apparently abroad in the land here. A couple of our staffers told us that the fireworks are going off like crazy, both in the day and the nighttime in Upper Manhattan and Inwood specifically and you've heard complaints from around the city, and there, I guess more than a thousand of them, what's going on there, and what kind of enforcement is being made?
Mayor: Well, Rich as usual, you understand life in New York City. I am very surprised by this, honestly, and I heard it last night, I was in Gracie Mansion, I heard plenty of fireworks going off and I can't say for sure if it was coming from Roosevelt Island or it was coming from Astoria, Queens, because Gracie is close to both of them, but yeah, there was a lot I'm going to talk to the NYPD about what, what we're seeing and why. But it's definitely a phenomenon that I'm not used to seeing this early you know, in the days, right before July 4th, you typically would see some, but this is surprisingly early. So, I don't have a perfect answer for you, but I'll be happy to find out what the heck's going on.
Moderator: Next, we have Katie from the Wall Street Journal.
Question: Well, hey, good morning. Mr. Mayor, and I'm curious as Phase Two, as we enter it on Monday what kind of outreach does the city do? You know, are there concerns that some businesses might not want to open and that could affect their employees? Or I don't know if this is a question for the SBS Commissioner, but also you and, and then I have a second question.
Mayor: Yeah, Katie, look, it's a very individual decision and absolutely respect the rights of any business. If the owner of the business doesn't feel comfortable opening, you know, that's their choice. We have to respect that, and a lot of business owners I think are watching to see what happens. So, there's always going to be folks who want to forge ahead and others watch their experience, and if they see a good experience, they join in. I think that's what we've been seeing in Phase One. We saw a lot of businesses jump immediately the first day, others have gained comfort from watching the experience, comparing notes, et cetera. So look, any business that has concerns or questions. In addition to the guides that the state and city have put out, there's a hotline they can call anytime to get help and assistance, obviously the free face coverings. But it is a very individual decision. I think people will make those decisions over days and weeks. Commissioner, you want to add?
Commissioner Doris: As it pertains to outreach you know, we work consistently with our BIDs and also our chambers. We also work to do outreach with those BIDs and chambers, but also we have our own list of businesses that we engage with over 200,000 on a weekly basis with different information that we send out, and of course our websites are already updated with the information. So look, we know, as the Mayor said, this is a personal decision, it's a business-by-business decision, but we here to help them make that decision.
Mayor: Go ahead, Katie.
Question: And my second question I'd asked it earlier in the week, but I don't know if you have any updates. You know, I asked about how many lifeguards have actually qualified to pass the lifeguard tests. I know you said 600 were training, but that doesn't answer the question. I mean, how many have passed the test? And if suddenly things, our indicators continue to improve and we do so well in Phase Two, everyone's having a great time. They're eating out in the curb, they're enjoying life, but then they want to go to the beach and the city has a plan. How many lifeguards can – are qualified right now at this to go on Coney Island and—
Mayor: We'll get you the – again, I just don't have it in front of me, but I am certain that by the time that we are ready and again, putting a bunch of people on the beach is a different matter. Like I said, there's the situations where you're going to group tens of thousands. Hundreds of thousands of people in the same place is a more sensitive decision we're talking about when that would be appropriate, but I'm convinced from everything I'm hearing that we'll have the lifeguards ready, but we'll get you more detail on that.
Moderator: Next we have Marcia from CBS.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor. I have two questions. The first one has to do with the outdoor dining. I wondered if you did any heads up in advanced notice to these restaurateurs so that they could buy the outdoor furniture and get ready for outdoor dining, and if you think three days’ notice will mean that some of them won't be able to open on Monday?
Mayor: Marcia, this has been a discussion for a long time and Andrew, if you want to add, you're welcome in, you'll let me know. But this has been a discussion for a long time. I think that small business owners and restaurateurs are very smart people. They've had their ear to the ground. They know that their advocates have been working on their behalf to achieve outdoor dining. I've said multiple times publicly that I thought we could find a way, but we had to get the specifics right. I think a lot of them will use the furniture they already have, but there's no question in my mind, they've seen it coming and they've been preparing, but Andrew is much more of an expert than I, so Andrew, why don't you speak on behalf of the industry?
Executive Director Rigie: Thank you. Hi, Marcia. Yeah, I – you know, the Mayor is spot on. We've been having tons of conversation over these, you know, weeks and months about this issue. So, we knew that it was coming, today is the day, we're hoping many restaurants will be able to use the furniture that they already have. Don't forget, indoor dining is not yet permitted, so they have the tables and chairs. Even when we begin to reopen indoors, it will be at a reduced occupancy, so we'll still have those extra tables and chairs. I've also spoken with countless different suppliers and people within the industry that really want to see the industry come back, so I think they are going to be offering special deals and really working with the restaurants if they need additional furniture. So, listen, restaurants, you know, are used to working 24/7, something always comes up. Your point of sale system goes down. You don't know who the reservations are coming in. So, we're used to always putting out different fires. So, we will make this work and like we said, this is an evolving process. So the Hospitality Alliance is here to help support, and I think the restaurateurs are going to be very thankful now that they know what the details are, when they're going to be permitted to reopen, and we're going to start working right away and I'm getting texts right now saying I'm on it. I got – started to get my tables and chairs ready.
Mayor: I like it, there's evidence. Go ahead, Marcia.
Question: So, I have a second question, Mr. Mayor. I've seen restaurants in other places with COVID surcharges. I wonder if patrons of New York City restaurants can expect anything of this sort seeing is the restaurants that are going to have to buy PPE for their workers, etcetera, etcetera, there'll be additional costs?
Mayor: Yeah, I don't know about that, Marcia, I would say simply we're going to make the face coverings available to any and all restaurants that need them for free. In terms of cleaning and all, restaurants do that all the time already. I'm sure there'll be challenges, but I just don't, I've not heard that before. I don't assume that. Restaurants are going make their own decisions, obviously, about pricing and what's going to bring customers back. And I think what they want the most is to get their customers back and get them comfortable. So that will be their decision.
Moderator: Last two for today. Next we have Andrew from NBC.
Question: Morning, Mr. Mayor and everyone on the call. I've got two questions. I'll start with the first on the restaurant topic. Someone else asked about the curb spacing. My question has to do with this, and maybe Commissioner Trottenberg will weigh in as well. How does a restaurant deal with a car that's parked in that curb lane? Won't there have to be towing? You know, there are people who park in alternate side spaces where their car is just sitting there all week. They might be in a Wednesday space right now with no plans to move it. So what do you do if there are cars in front of your restaurant?
Mayor: You know, Andrew, this is in the vein of great minds think alike. I have been raising this exact issue to my colleagues and the Commissioner will speak to it. The central thing I would say is a lot of restaurants, the adjoining parking is metered parking. So that solves that problem because you don't have the alternate side reality, but where there are spaces near alternate side parking, we got to figure that out and we're going to be making a decision shortly on alternate side parking going forward anyway. So, we got to figure that out because that's a valid concern. Commissioner, you want to speak to it?
Commissioner Trottenberg: Right, and look, certainly I think we don't want to be in the business of towing cars. For the metered spaces, there is turnover and we're going to be when restaurants do their application, there'll be able to print out a sign that they can put up and they can grab those spaces and mark them. For the residential spaces, which is a smaller proportion of the potential spaces, as the Mayor said, I think that will be tied to alternate side and hopefully announcements on that coming up shortly.
Mayor: Go ahead, Andrew.
Question: Okay. My second question is for my colleague and friend, Melissa Russo, who reminds us all that the primary is coming up on Tuesday. And I'm wondering, do you still encourage New Yorkers to vote for Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary? Or has the reality changed for you given all that's going on in the country? Is that still your recommendation?
Mayor: No, look, I think the world of Bernie Sanders, I wish he was the Democratic nominee. I wish he was the next president, I mean profoundly. But Joe Biden won clearly fair and square, and I think all Democrats should close ranks around Joe Biden now. I think it's as simple as that. Go ahead.
Moderator: Last question for today, we have Shant from the Daily News.
Question: Yeah, good morning, everyone. Back to the restaurants, you know, on the one hand it sounds like, you know, with self-certification potentially thousands of restaurants will get approved to serve people outdoors, but on the other hand, there's a finite amount of sidewalk space. So yeah. Just how do you make sure there's not going to be chaos on the sidewalks? And then I have a follow up question.
Mayor: Yeah, Shant, it's a good question. I – look, we have to do something different in the middle of a crisis. So, we just can't do business as usual. I think the folks who own the restaurants and manage the restaurants understand that they need to be good neighbors, that they will succeed in large measure to connected to how they handle the situation. There's going to be a lot of gratitude that restaurants are back and that people can go and enjoy them. But if it's done in a way that no one could get by the sidewalk or something, then there won't be as much gratitude. So, I actually think it is very much in the restaurant owner's interest to just follow the rules. They're very straightforward. But the only way to do this quickly with self-certification and it's literally you fill out – it's a few clicks to finish the application. You press send, you get a response back that says you're certified, go forward, make it happen Monday. That's the only way we could operate this environment. If there's concerns or problems that New Yorkers raised? Then we'll send people out to address them. But again, with a spirit of trying to solve problems, not being punitive. Commissioner?
Commissioner Trottenberg: I think you said it well, Mr. Mayor. Our goal was to be quick and nimble and help as many restaurants as we could. There will be individual circumstances in this large complicated city between DOT, SBS, Department of Health and City Hall, working with the hospitality industry, as well as local bids, elected officials, we will troubleshoot where we need to.
Moderator: Shant, did you have a thank you for that?
Question: Yeah, thank you for that. Yeah, I do. You know, while we're talking about Phase Two starting on Monday, there's other cities around the world that did begin to reopen, but then had to cancel when the coronavirus came back. And I guess I'm thinking of Beijing, which I think on Tuesday abruptly shut down a lot of parts of society. So [inaudible] get people, you know, you’ve talked about monitoring the indicators, but is there anything specific that would trigger a reversal of the shutdown and is there like a mechanism in place that you have for evaluating this? Thank you.
Mayor: Thank you, Shant. I mean this is what the public indicators are all about. The City and the State are constantly comparing notes on the data. We're unified on the fact that the data will lead the decision making. We're going to watch carefully in the days ahead and if we see anything we don't like, we can always make adjustments. But, Shant, I think a really important thing to recognize, I've had this conversation with so many of the medical folks, is it doesn't happen overnight. It happens in stages. If there's something going wrong, you see it over numerous days, probably takes a week or two to fully manifest. So, there's time to make adjustments. The fact is, I'm watching what's happening in Beijing too, and I'm obviously concerned, but we all knew that the process may not be linear, that there may be times where, you know, you'd take a step and then you have to pause and not take the next step. That's what we're watching for all the time, but I think it is – there's – the indicators really speak volumes. I think that's the way to think about it. They've been really, really consistent, but it will depend on the actions of everyone to keep it that way. And I think this personal responsibility reality, just we're going to have to really, really feel it going into Phase Two, because Phase Two is the really big reopening, and that's a huge step. So, for business owners, for business managers, being really serious about setting up those standards, protecting their employees, protecting their customers for working people. They see something that doesn't feel right, calling it in, we'll address it. We're going to have lots of inspectors out there to make sure things are done right, and just everybody in their everyday life sticking to the rules. But if there's a problem, we'll see initial indications within days, and then, you know, bigger manifestation, as I said over a week or two, and we'll address it. If we see it, we'll address it.
Everybody I'll conclude and just say, we got this far because of all the hard work of New Yorkers. Now let's keep doing it, again, beat this disease back. A lot of times, the places that had the problems were the ones where people stopped keeping their guard up and stopped sticking to the basic rules. We're not going to make that mistake in New York City. So social distancing has worked. Face coverings have worked. Face coverings have proven to be more important than we even realized initially, it's really been a crucial piece of the equation. Stick to it. Let's keep fighting this disease back. Let's keep reopening this economy. Let's keep getting life better for all New Yorkers. That is something I know we can do together. Thank you so much.