Wednesday, June 24, 2020

MAYOR DE BLASIO on COVID-19 and How NYC Stands - June 23, 2020

  Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. Yesterday, beginning of phase two, and, by everything that we’re hearing here at City Hall, a great start for this city. A lot of excitement out there, a lot of energy as New York City takes a big step forward towards our recovery. So, phase two began. I celebrated with Chirlane last night, we went to Melba’s Restaurant in Harlem. It was amazing to – I have to tell you – to be, once again, connected with the life, the energy, the culture of our city, through our restaurants. And a beautiful night, and outdoor dining, an amazing experience. Thank you, Melba. And thank you to the whole team at Melba’s. You were wonderful, wonderful hosts. And look, this is the beginning of something very big. As of this moment, 4,136 restaurants have applied for and been immediately approved to do outdoor seating. That number is growing all the time. And, as Melba told me, it took her something like five minutes to complete the application successfully. So, to all the restaurants out there looking to get going again, bringing back thousands and thousands of workers and starting up their livelihood again, it is fast and easy. Please jump on board. And we know that hundreds of thousands of people are now back to work and families are going to have a paycheck again, and life is going to be so much better for them. We also know that people are finally going to get to do a lot of things we've been waiting for. Some of us have been waiting for a haircut for quite a while. So, this week we can able to go back to barbershops, beauty salons. It's going to be a great, great feeling.

So, a very good start to phase two. As always, you know, when we celebrate the good things happening and we really need to take time to do that, we also recognize the challenges. We also recognize that we're dealing with so many problems simultaneously in this coronavirus crisis. So, we know our families have been cooped up. Young people have been cooped up and we know that on beautiful summer nights like we're having now, unfortunately some young people are turning to the wrong approach, and that's illegal fireworks. And we have concerns about this from all over the city. This is a real problem. It is not just a quality of life problem, and a noise problem. And it's certainly that. And it's all five boroughs, and we take that seriously, but it can also be dangerous. So, we need to make sure that young people know, all people know, some of it's adults too, that illegal fireworks are not only illegal, but they can be dangerous. We need to get that message across. And that's what we intend to do. And we also intend to go to the root cause. And that is the people who are supplying the fireworks. The folks who are profiting off of illegal fireworks. We're going to start a huge sting operation to go and get these illegal fireworks at the base. Meaning everywhere they're being sold around New York City, and even where they're being sold in surrounding States that we know are flowing into New York City. The Sheriff's Office, the FDNY, the NYPD have come together in an illegal fireworks task force. We will have over 40 officers from each of those three organizations, including 12 FDNY fire marshals. The NYPD Intelligence Bureau will be a part of this effort to help us track down where the fireworks are coming from to begin with. Deputy Sheriffs will be out there addressing this at the root. So, what do we do? We go at the suppliers. There'll be all sorts of actions taken. Undercover buys, sting operations, finding where the supply is and cutting it off at the knees. And there's going to be a big public safety campaign to led by the FDNY. The FDNY has done amazing work, educating New Yorkers on so many ways that they need to stay safe, whether it's smoke alarms or the ways to avoid setting a fire accidentally, the FDNY is going to take the lead. Public service announcements, social media aimed at all New Yorkers, but particularly young people to help us root this out. This is a beginning there's a lot to do, and we have to do it quickly, but this is an issue we can confront. It's not entirely new. It's more than we've ever seen it and earlier, but it's not entirely new city agencies have been able to root out this problem in the past. We're going to go at it hard now and address it immediately.

So, those are the fireworks we do not ever want to see the illegal fireworks, but let's talk about something more positive. Let's talk about something that brings us actually a lot of joy. And that is the professional fireworks. The ones that we wait for each year that Macy's gives us. A wonderful thing Macy's does for the people in New York City, every July 4th, the fireworks display is something people look to all year around here in the city. And it's actually looked at all over the nation, all over the world. And this July 4th’s going to take on added meaning. We've all been through so much and we are finally making sustained progress. Knock on wood. We got a lot more to go, but every one of you who has worked so hard on the social distancing, the shelter in place, the face coverings to get us to this day, we're celebrating you. We’re celebrating this city. We're celebrating this country at a moment where we all need to take stock and be proud of what we have done together. So, we need this, and it's going to be done by Macy's and thanks to everyone's everybody at Macy's. Jeff Ganette, the CEO has been a great partner in this, and I know for him and everyone at Macy's, this is a labor of love. They really care about New York city, and they want to do something special. So, this year is going to be different. Let me start with that crucial point. It will not be like the past where there's one big giant show. We do not want a lot of people out watching. There's not going to be a single focal point. In fact, we're only going to let out information about specific points very close to the actual moment when these shows happen. it's going to be a series of shows, only five minutes each. Why? Because we want to get the shows around the five boroughs where people can see them from their own homes, from their own rooftops, from nearby parks, but not something where people go to a single location in group, in large numbers. This will be happening this coming Monday, June 29th through Wednesday, July 1st weather permitting.

So, the idea is very brief bursts, brief, but mighty. And this is not like what you see with the illegal fireworks. You'll know this is a very professional, beautiful show. People get a moment to experience it, feel good about it, and then it'll all be pulled together on Saturday, July 4th in a show. it'll be live on NBC with the different pieces of each night together on tape, but also music from leading cultural figures. There'll be tributes to our heroes who got us this far, the healthcare workers, the first responders, everyone who fought through March, fought through April all the way to today to make this city come back and something very special that night at the empire state building as well. So, people will be able to see different pieces at different points. It’s going to be something that's going to be special for the city different, but very special, very powerful, very moving, but also very safe. And again, thank you to everyone at Macy's for being such great partners.

Now, we think about the things that, you know, we need to be inspired at this difficult time. The things that remind us, we can come back. We are coming back. We think about those things that give us hope, but at the same time we think about what people are going through every single day. And I'll tell you something from the beginning of this crisis, one of the things I've said, and all my colleagues here at city hall have said, we understand that people are not only hurting, families hurting, families who have lost loved ones, but folks have lost their livelihood. They don't have money for the basics. And that begins with food. This needs more attention that millions of New Yorkers have suffered from food insecurity. That is not normal in this city. So many people have had to worry where the next meal is coming from. And no New Yorker gracing the world, no New Yorker should ever have to ask the question, where am I going to find my next meal? So, what we've said from the beginning is we're going to go right at that, with everything we’ve got. The city of New York to make sure that anyone who needs food gets it when they need it, where they need it distributed so far. This is an amazing number. The city of New York has distributed 70 million meals since March for free to people who need them in New York City. We're now doing approximately 1.5 million meals per day – again, for free. Whether it's meals that people pick up at sites or meals delivered right to the door of a senior who can't get out, but needs that good, healthy food on a regular basis. This has been an unprecedented effort and everyone involved has done a remarkable job. And now there's going to be an additional element of this effort for the summer, because we will not let anyone go hungry this summer. 

Okay, let's talk about the thing we talk about every day, this is the essence of everything we're focused on the health of our people. What do our indicators tell us? Today is a very good day, that's what our indicators tell us. Indicator one, daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, the threshold is 200 and today's report only 45. Indicator two, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICU’s – threshold of 375, today only 320. And indicator number three, percentage of people positive for COVID-19 – citywide threshold of 15 percent, today's report, once again, only 2 percent. Excellent, excellent report today. Congratulations to all of you. And you know, I'm going to say next, keep doing what you're doing, let's keep tight, disciplined, focused, so we can keep these numbers down and keep reopening and restarting

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