New York City Will Face Major Challenges With Its Reopening
New York City's dense population will require a sophisticated reopening plan, according to the Wall Street Journal.
New York City's daily death toll from COVID-19 has been decreasing which has incentivized lawmakers to begin discussing reopening plans. The issue is that the city runs on packing massive amounts of people into small areas such as subways, trading floors, restaurants, and stadiums to fuel its economy. However, COVID-19 spreads easily between individuals, especially when they are packed tightly together.
Urban areas have also thrived in the past couple of decades, drawing in millions and growing business. The cost of living went up and many were forced to live paycheck to paycheck or move away. A NYC Hospitality Alliance survey asked 483 restaurant and bar owners about their operations and found that almost 2/3 could not operate at less than 70 percent occupancy.
However, with social distancing and other pandemic requirements, it will be hard for these small businesses to operate at the required capacity to stay afloat. “Broadway can’t socially distance,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League. “What will bring Broadway back is a vaccine or a medicine that takes away a serious risk of death.”
However, there is hope for New York City. History shows that large cities tend to bounce back after disasters or pandemics. Finance leaders in the city have also started brainstorming options to get workers back to the office. Commuting and ensuring that common items such as elevator buttons and doorknobs are clean is a large challenge. There could be a resurgence of designated elevator workers that touch the buttons.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor Jeffrey Harris, recently concluded that New York's subway system helped contribute to the massive breakout in the region. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority responded saying the study was flawed and that the transit system helped get doctors and nurses to work. The subways have been closing four hours every night for disinfecting, but rider numbers are still down over 90 percent.
Some residents have reported that they are thinking about moving away from the city.
New York City is facing serious challenges as it attempts to reopen its economy.