Monday, July 20, 2020


  Well, good morning, everybody. We've got a lot to talk about today. First day of phase four, and obviously a very hot day. We're going to talk about the heat advisory. But first take a moment to remember a true American hero, Congressman John Lewis. And all over New York City, all over this country, people are remembering this great man and taking inspiration from him. And this is just what I want to talk about for a moment, because the amazing thing about John Lewis is that for almost 60 years, he was a consistent beacon to all of us. Of what it means to work to make this a better country and to overcome our painful history and take us to some place better. The amazing energy, the hopefulness, the resolve of this man is so much of what bonded all of us to him. No matter what he went through, he found a way to find a hopeful place, to find a north star that moved him forward. And it's something we all need to remember right now. So, we're mourning, but there is something I think even more important. I think he'd say it to us, which is to remember to always stay inspired and focused on the next thing we can make better.

Now, a few months back, in December, I had an incredible honor with my family, of spending time with John Lewis. He spoke at the New York Historical Society. And I asked him how he got inspired originally. And in that picture you see, he's telling the story and he uses the phrase, good trouble. That's his signature phrase, that of how you can make trouble for a positive end. You can fight against something unjust. But he talked about starting out as a kid in a rural area with very little that told him about the outside world. And how teachers and mentors and clergy members started to open his eyes, not just to what was going on and what needed to change, but to what he could do about it. So, this young man who had – he was very clear, no reason to believe that he personally could change the world. He got inspired. And became one of the crucial figures of the Civil Rights Movement and everything since. So, what an honor to have spent time with him.

And let me tell you his legacy lives on, in so many people right now, including a lot of young people that I spent time with over the last few days. And on Friday, I was in Harlem for a town hall meeting with young people. And the spirit of John Lewis was clearly in the room, in the sense that these young people were learning about their own abilities, their own power to make change, their own value, what a different world they could help create. It was very, very moving to hear their voices. And there were voices of pain and they talked about some very difficult experiences they had had, including with police. But they also talked about how they knew that community and police had to come together. They talked about – they knew how we had to create a different relationship, a more human and humane relationship. It was inspiring to hear these voices and realize that they are our future. And our future can be in very good hands if we support them. So those young people in Harlem on Friday inspired me.

On Friday evening, I was in Bed-Stuy with an Occupy the Corners effort, community members taking back their neighborhood, not allowing the gun violence to take over, but reclaiming their own streets. Elected officials, clergy, Cure Violence folks all together. And again on Saturday with the Ceasefire Peace March in Bed-Stuy. I was out there and I saw the incredible energy and commitment. Community members making very, very clear their community, their streets. They would stop the violence, they needed the partnership with NYPD for sure, but they also knew the community had to come forward and the community has come forward. Not just in Bed-Stuy, not just in Harlem, but all over the city. And you're going to see a lot more of that in the coming weeks.

Now, this is all part of our Violence Prevention Plan that Commissioner Shea and I outlined on Friday. And it will work with the combination of pinpointed police efforts and key police deployments where needed most. But also a closer working partnership with communities. That's the key.

Okay. So, I said up top, we should talk obviously about the momentous nature of this day. And I got to tell you, I think a lot of us would have said that it would have been a really, really big challenge, maybe an unlikely possibility that New York City and its comeback from the coronavirus, having been the epicenter of the crisis in the very beginning, that we would get to phase one, phase two, phase three and now phase four exactly on schedule. And we have. And again, credit to all of you, the heroic efforts of New Yorkers fighting back this disease, have made this possible.

So, phase four begins today. A lot of wonderful things. We see sports coming back, baseball back this week, professional baseball, Major League Baseball. That's going to be incredible. Media production starting again, a big part of the life of the city, a big part of people's livelihoods. Some wonderful outdoor activities opening up again, botanical gardens, zoos at more limited capacity, but they will be open and that's going to be great. So many things are moving forward, heavy emphasis on outdoors, but when it comes to certain indoor activities, that's what we keep holding back. So, we're holding back indoor dining, museums, malls, things that we're still not certain can be done right. And a reminder that even though we think there's a lot of evidence of a huge difference between outdoor and indoor and outdoor always being better. And that's why we extended the outdoor dining all the way to October 31st. Let's take maximum advantage of that. It's an amazing thing. But outdoors doesn't mean that people should forget all of the tough lessons that we've learned. And overwhelmingly let's be fair, overwhelmingly around the city, folks who own restaurants, bars, and their customers have been responsible, have been smart, have remembered to follow the rules, but not everywhere.

We saw some real troubling overcrowding in Astoria this weekend, we will not tolerate it. Let's really clear. It's not widespread, but where we find it has to be stopped. There's one restaurant in Astoria that was a focal point for this overcrowding. They've been shut down. And no one wants to shut down bars or restaurants. But if they do not cooperate in our efforts to contain the coronavirus, they will be shut down. We don't want to give out summonses. Everyone's hurting right now, financially, economically. But if we have to, we'll give out summonses. So, there'll be heavier enforcement efforts by the Sheriff's Office and when needed, by the NYPD as well, around bars and restaurants. I want it to be very, very clear when we agreed to let this part of our life come back, it was not meant to be business as usual. It was meant to be with the understanding we all gained the hard way, of why we need social distancing, why we need face coverings, why we need to understand some limits to stop this disease and to never let it come back. So, you'll see, as I said, a very aggressive effort to enforce. And look, I think it's as clear as this – we don't want to shut down restaurants. We don't want to shut down bars, but if we have to shut down a few of those, it is a hell of a lot better than seeing the coronavirus start to surge again in this city.

And we know in other places it was a reckless disregard in the way that bars and restaurants were handled. That was one of the causes of a resurgence of the coronavirus. We will not let that happen here. So, everyone, remember, we've got to keep to those rules, keep educating everyone around you. Face coverings, social distancing work. Now that's the importance of doing that, including when you're outdoors.

And while we're talking about outdoors, let's talk about this very hot week we're going into. And particularly today, today is a day to be very concerned about the heat index could reach 100 today. So everyone remember as we get into these very hot temperatures, take it seriously. Do not minimize the challenge. Stay hydrated, stay cool. When you can stay in air conditioning, check on your neighbors. If you know there's a neighbor who might be a little more vulnerable, a senior or someone with a health condition that might make them more vulnerable, check in on them, make sure they have enough water or anything they need. Now there's going to cooling centers, open all over the city. They'll be smart in the terms, the way they run them. There'll be social distancing, face coverings within the cooling centers, but they'll be available to anyone who needs them for free. And you'll see on your screen, a variety of efforts, outdoors and indoors in our parks and all around to keep people cool. Anyone who needs to know about that? You can call 3-1-1 for locations near you, or go to, get all the information you need.

Okay. I'm about to turn to our daily indicators, but before I do, we have an important milestone in our city's recent history that I want to note. And it's a good one. There is good news, no matter what challenges we face, New Yorkers, keep creating good news. And here's one about Citi Bike. This is quite amazing, just in the last week, a hundred millionth Citi Bike trip in New York City, a hundred million trips on a Citi Bike, all about making sure people can get around, can get around in a way that is friendly to the environment, no emissions, no pollution. This is a fantastic development and also the 1,000 Citi Bike station installed. So, Citi Bike being expanded. This has been proven to be a really good thing in the midst of this pandemic. It has been a great option for a lot of New Yorkers who wanted a different way to get around. And we're going to keep expanding in the Bronx, in Upper Manhattan, folks at Department of Transportation are working every day to make sure there's more and better options. And they are safe options.

Now as do our indicators. Number one daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, the threshold is 200, today's report, 74 patients. Number two, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICUs, threshold 375, today's report 311. And number three, percentage of the people testing citywide positive for COVID-19, threshold of 15 percent, today's report once again, two percent. So a very good day.

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