NYC nail salons back in business but indoor dining on hold

NEW YORK (AP) — Nail salons and dog runs were back in business on Monday as New York City entered a new phase in the easing of coronavirus restrictions, but indoor restaurant dining will be postponed indefinitely in order to prevent a spike in new infections.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said about 50,000 more people will come back to work as the city enters Phase 3 of reopening, which in addition to nail salons includes tattoo parlors, indoor tanning and sports such as basketball, volleyball and handball.

“It will be more of summer again because we did this hard work to get this far and we cannot let up now,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio said that while indoor dining will be on hold for “a substantial amount of time” given the COVID-19 spikes traced to bars and restaurants in other locations around the country, outdoor dining has been a great success, with 7,000 of the city’s restaurants operating with outdoor-only seating.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there were nine deaths from the coronavirus and 518 new infections reported statewide on Sunday, a far cry from the height of New York’s outbreak in April when deaths topped 700 daily.

But Cuomo said he was concerned about reports of large holiday gatherings over the weekend in New York City, on Fire Island and in some upstate locations, and he said local governments must enforce social distancing rules. “I understand people are fatigued,” Cuomo said. “We’ve been doing this for 128 days. I get it. But it doesn’t change the facts, and we have to stay smart.”

Cuomo announced the cancellation of the New York State Fair, scheduled for Aug. 21 through Sept. 7 in Syracuse. “That makes me personally very unhappy but that is where we are,” he said.

Also on Monday, the state’s top health official said a policy that prevented nursing homes from refusing to admit patients solely because of COVID-19 was not the main reason that nearly 6,300 residents may have died of COVID-19 in the state.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said a survey of nursing homes from March 25 to May 8 found that about 6,300 COVID-19 patients were transferred from hospitals to 310 nursing homes statewide. He said 252 of the nursing homes already had a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case or fatality before they admitted any of the hospital patients who were infected with the virus.

There have been 3,565 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes across the state, and more than 2,700 additional deaths are presumed to have been caused by the disease.

The policy that prevented nursing homes from refusing to admit COVID-19 patients was reversed in May.

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Marina Villenueve reported from Albany, New York.

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