De Blasio: Non-essential permitted events—including parades, concerts, marathons—canceled in May; 'huge gatherings' in June uncertain

1010 WINS Newsroom
April 17, 2020 - 10:22 am

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday the city will not be issuing permits for non-essential events planned in May as he announced new testing initiatives to beat back the coronavirus.

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    The mayor said canceling the events is necessary as the city continues to battle the coronavirus outbreak.

    The decision will affect events like parades, concerts, festivals, marathons and other large gatherings, including the Brooklyn Half Marathon and SummerStage in Central Park.

    “We’re not issuing any permits for the month of May. We’re canceling those events,” de Blasio said.

    “We have to be smart,” the mayor said. “We love those things. We’ll miss them … but they will be back.”

    The mayor said “huge gatherings” planned for June may also be canceled.

    De Blasio also said he is increasing the capacity of 311 after calls increased from an average of 55,000 daily to up to 200,000 daily.

    Among the new priorities for 311 are getting an immediate response for people seeking food and a new ability for people to send photos of social-distancing complaints; they should text the photos to 311-692 or upload them through the 311 app.

    The mayor said the city is also hiring 120 additional 311 call center staff and asking New Yorkers to send non-coronavirus complaints through the 311 app instead of calling.

    At his daily briefing, the mayor also said that he hopes to rapidly increase coronavirus testing that’s begins Friday in the hardest-hit communities of New York City.

    De Blasio said five locations across the boroughs are opening either Friday or Monday. He said they’ll focus on vulnerable populations in those communities, especially people who are over 65 and have preexisting conditions. Residents who want to make an appointment should call 311.

    The sites that open Friday are Gotham Health in East New York, Gotham Health in Morrisania in Bronx and Vanderbilt Health Center in Staten Island.

    The sites that open Monday are Sydenham Health Center in Harlem and Queens Hospital Center in Queens.

    De Blasio said there will initially be 2,400 tests being conducted across the five locations but that he hopes to ramp up the testing capacity quickly.

    “I want to see those numbers double,” de Blasio said, adding that increasing testing hinges on the city getting the testing and personal protective equipment it needs.

    De Blasio said five additional test sites will be opening in each borough as well. They will initially be doing 3,500 tests per week and focusing on people over 65 who have preexisting conditions.

    The mayor said three indicators the city has been tracking are down: people admitted to hospitals for suspected coronavirus; people currently in H+H ICUs for suspected coronavirus; percentage of people tested who are positive for coronavirus. But he said the percentage of people testing positive in public health labs is up.

    A total of 117,565 coronavirus cases and 11,477 deaths have been reported in the city as of Thursday.

    The breakdown by borough is:

    • The Bronx: 25,638
    • Brooklyn: 31,279
    • Manhattan: 15,539
    • Queens: 36,220
    • Staten Island: 8,822

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