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The outskirts of New Rochelle on the outskirts of New York, home to one of the first corona virus clusters in the US, began slowly reopening for business on Tuesday.
‘Detention zones’ were declared around the city in mid-March, well before another day NY State was locked in after New Rochelle’s lawyer contracted and unknowingly spread the virus by attending synagogues and other meetings.
New York then became the epicenter corona virus plague in the US.
Westchester County, which includes New Rochelle, began the first phase of reopening Tuesday, which includes construction, manufacturing and curbside and in-store pickup at several retailers.
The executive director of the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce, Catherine White, said it was “a monumental day” because “we have been waiting for signs that things are moving forward, definite signs that things are getting better.”
White added that while the virus had hit the city, many New Rochelle businesses managed to be innovative and managed to become virtual. He quoted a baseball coach who now teaches from his backyard and whose virtual sports classes have made him a student throughout the US.
“The most important thing now,” White said, “is to keep our numbers low.”
If infection rates continue to decline in the area for the next two weeks, then it can enter the second phase of reopening, which will include personal services and more retail and administrative businesses. Phase three will include restaurants and additional food services.
White himself went to fetch Covid-19 antibody tests in the nearby town of White Plains on Tuesday. He said he had been bedridden with a high fever at the end of December. White joked that maybe his daughter, who might have given him the virus (Covid-19 or not) was actually a real NY patient.
Residents on the streets of New Rochelle expressed cautious optimism about the gradual reopening of business.
Louis Vaccara, owner of a curtain shop that has been on Main Street since 1976, said he was “happy to be opened”.
“We’ve been waiting for months.” Vaccara said, “We need this. We all lost friends and family because of this and this is scary but I think this is the right step, as long as everyone is responsible. “
A 73-year-old employee from a neighboring supermarket, who asked not to be named, was worried that reopening as soon as that was not a good idea because there was still no cure for the virus. He wore a protector, mask, and gloves and said he had worked throughout the pandemic and lost some of his friends.
New Rochelle is right on the water and also known as Queen City of the Sound. Several businesses, including Sound Bound Charters, which take people out on fishing trips, also opened on Tuesday.
Captain Brendan Lorino, the owner of the company said he was eager to “finally get back to work”. He described the precautions he took, separating the people on the boat and scrubbing them thoroughly with bleach after each trip.
Lorino is also a firefighter in the Bronx area of New York City. He worked throughout the pandemic and said he had witnessed some terrible things but that “we have finally overcome the hump. Going fishing is a way to get out and forget your worries for the day. “
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