This ‘Memorial Day’ holiday marks several bells for New York City. First, the reopening of the 14 miles of beaches, for the start of a summer season that runs until September 12. And second, because it is the start of many activities that show the vision of a city that tries to return to normality, after 14 months battling the pandemic of COVID-19.
Although in the calendar of the City authorities the 1st of July It was declared as an “incredible moment” for the reopening in which the Big Apple will formally begin a summer without major restrictionsIt is on these days of the long weekend for the holiday, when the country remembers “the fallen”, in which there will really take off many activities that in the previous summer season were marked by a public health crisis that was just beginning.
Last year on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, of the 30 concessionaires that operated summer service stores between 86th and 106th streets, only half they were allowed to operate as part of the strategy of Health authorities to avoid crowds as a preventive measure against COVID-19.
“We were able to work and despite everything it was profitable. This year will obviously be better for everyone, although you must continue to comply with certain protocols. Nothing is totally normal ”, commented an employee of Caracas Arepas Bar, one of the most popular feeders in this Queens resort.
Until last week, a large part of the commercial premises of the Rockaway Boardwalk 97th Street they were kept closed, some undergoing renovations and others without any appearance of offering their services again.
“Many concessions have expired and are still in the process of being renewed. Until recently it was unknown how New York was going to be rethought in the summer, but now there is a clearer picture. And the commercial vigor of this area will return quickly, “he told The newspaper a spokesperson for the City’s Parks Department (NYC Parks).
A giant step, but …
With a massive vaccination plan in the Big Apple that has allowed the relaxation of social distancing measures and the use of masks in public spaces, the official reopening of the beaches public this 2021 without special rules, shows a giant step in the post-pandemic recovery.
In 2020 the spas of New York City opened with great limitations during this holiday of ‘Memorial Day’, allowing access to bathers only to share in the sand and in other spaces of the walkways, with masks, without crowds. Plus, unable to swim.
The immigrant Uruguayan Julio Sorribas, a resident of Far Rockaway, begins to feel with “some reasonable fears” how a season “more alive than the last” is coming.
“Many businesses went bankrupt around here amid so many restrictions due to the pandemic. Now there is hope for a hot season that brings economic recovery. We cross our fingers that it is really a really summer months, with high temperatures and without hurricanes”, Says who had serious losses due to the passage of the meteorological phenomenon Sandy by that New York coast in 2012.
Although Julio celebrates that in the coming months he will be able to enjoy walks with his dog on the seashore, he also fears that despite the government decrees that invite “normality”, nothing is known “for sure” with the route that the coronavirus may take.
“It is not pessimism. We continue with the virus rolling. We get vaccinated, we protect ourselves, but these times have proven to be very difficult. Immunization is very new. We should take things more cautiously ”, stressed the retiree who has lived in New York since 1965.
A summer in New York
Beyond the coasts where beaches are opened for recreation, the rhythm of a city that in the previous summer was less than “half machine”.
Now, with the green signal for national tourists to come, with restaurants and bars operating at 100% of their capacity and the authorities pushing vaccination in all corners of the five boroughs, the ‘capital of the world’ is advancing rapidly to a “normal” summer.
In addition, starting this Monday, one of the prevention policies against the pandemic that limited the hours for service in the indoor areas of bars, restaurants and nightclubs until 12 midnight, which means that the nightlife of the ‘city that never sleeps’ begins to revitalize this week.
This step occurs when approximately the 42% of the total population of the city is fully vaccinated, five months after the immunization strategy, according to data from the City Department of Health (DOHMH).
Already a large part of the night spots began to require the ‘Excelsior Pass’ which provides a secure digital proof COVID-19 vaccine or negative test results.
Faced with this sequence of reopening, the Dominican-Puerto Rican Rosita Fernández, Brooklyn resident prefers to see the future with a certain caution and calm.
“It is perfect that they have facilitated vaccines to take these steps. In my opinion We must continue to take care of ourselves. I prefer to walk carefully, continue wearing masks the same. These signs of normalcy cannot invite people to go crazy. This virus continues to move around the world ”, he reacted.
Meanwhile, the Puerto Rican Joe Rosa and his wife Martha, After several months without walking the streets of downtown Manhattan, they agree that the city is recovering its old spirits.
“A pandemic will not be able to with the spirit of this city. Despite everything, of the problems of this era, we see that it is great, that it comes with everything. We are really very happy to returnJoe shared as he walked through a Times Square, that of silence and solitude begins to once again become one of the world’s tourist epicenters.
Hot days, no masks
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.