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Crowds at Restaurants Show the Need For Open Space Now

The East Village on Friday night. Photo: EV Grieve

No, really, don’t make him come down here, Mayor de Blasio — do something.

Crowds of customers hanging out outside restaurants and bars in the East Village on Friday night earned the ultimate warning from Gov. Cuomo on Saturday — a threat to step in to curtail all the socially undistanced gathering.

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“It’s an abundance of caution,” the mayor told reporters on June 7. “We are not like the other regions of the state. We were the epicenter and remain the epicenter of this disease in this state. Our reopening is much more complex than any other part of the state. … According to the official chart of the state, it could be as little as two weeks until you get to Phase 2. But I want to keep expectations a little lower than that. … But think about the beginning of July as the target, I think that is a safer, smarter way to think about it.”

Or he could just move decisively, said Shabazz Stuart, founder of Oonee and a public space adviser to the restaurant industry.

“The crowding that we’re all seeing on major streets shows the need for a calibrated and thoughtful approach to streetscape management in the post-covid era,” said Stuart. “We need design guidelines and design solutions. I look forward to seeing the details soon.”

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