New York, between fireworks for the reopening and the shadows of the crisis

The lights of Broadway will begin to shine in all their splendor in August as the governor and mayor of New York they take their word off every day to unveil a new great concert, a parade or fireworks with which to announce with great fanfare the end of the pandemic from coronavirus, which has engulfed the Big Apple in a deep crisis that will continue here When the last float has passed

“Just as we have seen the Broadway lights start to come on again, I think we also have to look towards the Bronx and Brooklyn, you know, to all parts of the city, to ensure that this recovery is experienced by allNot only because of the most visible segments of society, “Jeff Schlegelmilch, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told EFE.

Surrounded by fervent acolytes, Governor Andrew Cuomo held an jubilant press conference on June 15 to announce the lifting of all restrictions imposed by the pandemic, with the exception of those in force in public transport, hospitals or nurseries.

“Businesses can open because state orders are no longer in effectNo capacity or capacity restrictions, no temperature measurement, no need to continue extraordinary cleaning and disinfection protocols, “Cuomo said.

A march of the anti-vaccines in New York. Reuters photo

That day, 70% of adults in the state had received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine.

“70% means that now we can come back to life as we knew it“said the governor before a dedicated audience that constantly interrupted him with applause and to which he also cackled that that same night fireworks would be launched throughout the state in honor of frontline workers.

Contagious optimism

Cuomo’s words spread like wildfire while the announcement that Mayor Bill de Blasio had made the day before, anticipating a face-to-face “great parade”, on July 7, dedicated to essential workers.

“The first parade of the return; the first real great parade in the city of New York, will be one to celebrate the heroes of the fight against covid-19, “said the mayor, who had promised the total reopening by July 1.

New Yorkers cautiously received the first lifting of the restrictions but little by little they have been filling parks, streets, terraces, bars and restaurants, although many prefer to continue wearing the mask in places where it is no longer mandatory, such as shops and supermarkets.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.  AP Photo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. AP Photo

“We are in a moment to breathe deeply, to celebrate a little; But it is a very fragile celebration, because we need to recognize that this pandemic is far from over. But we are on the path we want to be on and we must continue like this, “says Schlegelmilch.

However, he cautions that he is “cautiously optimistic that New York will recover “because, as he stresses,” the scars left by this pandemic will remain for a generation or more, as we have seen in pandemics throughout history.

The crisis

Steve Malanga, an expert at the downtown Manhattan Institute, also does not look at New York with the same eyes than their political representatives.

Malanga explains to Efe that the state unemployment rate is 8.2%, “substantially above” the average of USA, which stands at 5.8%, and adds that “it is even more worrying” that unemployment in the Big Apple is at 11.4%.

New York City has a long way to go before it recovers to pre-pandemic levels, especially if some fundamental changes, such as telecommuters, continue (without returning to their physical jobs) even after the pandemic, “it says.

For Malanga, the main challenge of the city is “restore social order” and prevent rampant violence from spiraling out of control.

The insecurity

New York’s economic revival, which began in the 1990s and continued even after September 11 and the 2008 recession, was based on the decrease in crime“, he argued, before noting that the economy in the peripheral districts and the prosperity of small businesses, such as retail stores and restaurants,” those hardest hit by the crisis, “benefit” from security and low crime rates. “.

The tourism It is another of the cornerstones on which the state is committed to reactivate the local economy and whose development Malanga also links to security.

According to what the NYC & Company spokeswoman, Adriana Aristizábal, told Efe, the city expects to receive 10 million tourists during the summer season, which would be six million more than last summer, but still seven and a half million less than those who visited the city in the summer of 2019.

The latest electoral polls carried out on the occasion of the New York mayoral primary elections have revealed that the main concern of voters, above employment, covid-19 or housing, is the increase in insecurity.

“Most of the mayoral candidates that rank high in opinion polls have emphasized the need to stop the rise in crime as a fundamental part of the city’s resurgence. Clearly, that will be an important issue on the next mayor’s agenda, “Malanga says.

EFE Agency

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