NEW YORK – More than a year after coronavirus shutdowns sent “the city that never sleeps” into a fitful slumber, New York could be wide awake again this summer.
Starting Wednesday, vaccinated New Yorkers could shed their masks in most situations, and restaurants, stores, gyms and many other businesses could go back to full capacity if they ascertain that all patrons have been inoculated.
Subways resumed running round-the-clock this week. Midnight curfews for bars and restaurants will be gone by month's end. Broadway tickets are on sale again, though the curtain won't rise on any shows until September.
Officials say now is New York's moment to shake off the image of a city brought to its knees by the virus last spring — a recovery poignantly rendered on the latest cover of The New Yorker magazine. It shows a giant door part-open to the city skyline, letting in a ray of light.
Is the Big Apple back to its old, brash self?
“Maybe 75%. ... It’s definitely coming back to life,” said Mark Kumar, 24, a personal trainer.
But Ameen Deen, 63, said: “A full sense of normalcy is not going to come any time soon. There's far too many deaths. There's too much suffering. There's too much inequality."
Last spring, the biggest city in America was also the nation's deadliest coronavirus hotspot, the site of over 21,000 deaths in just two months. Black and Hispanic patients have died at markedly higher rates than whites and Asian Americans.