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De Blasio Announces a Number of Groups to Guide Virus Recovery: Live Updates

How to re-open New York City? De Blasio announces a number of groups to guide the effort.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday announced that a number of different groups — advisory councils, task forces and a commission — would form to help imagine New York City’s future after the coronavirus outbreak.

Advisory councils, divided by industry and sector, would begin to meet in early May, he said. The councils would include groups focused on small businesses, public health and health care, labor, arts, culture and tourism and several others, Mr. de Blasio said. They would help shape rules to guide the economy as it attempts a slow reopening.

There was no on-off switch for the economy, Mr. de Blasio said at his Sunday briefing: “It is a series of careful, smart moves.”

Mr. de Blasio, who won election as mayor in 2013 with a promise to help New York’s most underserved communities, said that reopening the city would be an opportunity to change its fabric.

“I don’t want to see recovery mean ‘let’s just go back to the status quo we had before,’” Mr. de Blasio said. “Recovery means making something better.”

A city task force focused on racial inclusion and equity would be formed, he said, to address the racial disparities exacerbated by the virus. It would be led by the mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson, the mayor said.

A $1 billion program created by Ms. McCray, ThriveNYC, has undergone multiple leadership changes and much scrutiny. Mr. de Blasio said that history had not been a concern in appointing her to the task force, and that Thrive had been focused on addressing profound inequalities in health care.

“I think what Chirlane has done over these last six years is take this issue, put it in the light, open up access for millions of people and then continue to build out a structure that could focus on effective delivery and equity,” Mr. de Blasio said. “I think that’s exactly the kind of mind set needed for this task force.”

He added that the “initial thinking” about the task force had come from Mr. Thompson.

Mr. de Blasio also announced the formation of a fair recovery task force, which will work to make the reopening as equitable as possible. He said that the group would be expected to deliver a preliminary road map for recovery by June 1.

“I want to see people back to work whether they work on Wall Street or they work in a bodega,” he said.

The mayor said he would seek to form a charter revision commission, which would hold public hearings in an effort to reimagine New York City’s charter. Such commissions are formed on a temporary basis, and changes they suggest are proposed as amendments to voters.

All pharmacies in New York will be able to test for Covid-19, Governor Cuomo says.

New Yorkers anxious to learn if they have the coronavirus will soon be able to get tested at any local pharmacy, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Saturday.

Mr. Cuomo said he was signing an executive order authorizing all of the state’s roughly 5,000 pharmacies to conduct coronavirus tests as a part of an effort to reach a larger number of people.

“If your local drugstore can now become a collection site, people can go to their local drugstore,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Since we now have more collection sites, more testing capacity, we can open up the eligibility for those tests.”

He also said the state would expand testing criteria to include all first responders, health care workers and essential employees, allowing those individuals to be tested even if they do not have symptoms.

Getting access to a coronavirus test has been a source of anxiety for thousands of New Yorkers since the highly contagious virus upended life in New York, where more than 16,000 people have died of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Some larger pharmacy chains were already offering tests, Mr. Cuomo said, but his order would permit many smaller ones to administer tests, as well.

Though Philip Murphy’s subdued tone differs from some of his fellow governors, he, too, is responding to challenges with a constant presence.

It has been seven weeks since news of New Jersey’s first confirmed coronavirus case was delivered to Gov. Philip D. Murphy while he was on an operating table, about to have a cancerous piece of his kidney removed.

Beyond the governor’s personal health concerns, New Jersey has been ravaged by the outbreak, and is second only to New York in both number of cases and deaths, despite ranking 11th in population among the 50 states.

And as the public health crisis appears to be ebbing, some elected officials and top Republicans say Mr. Murphy, who issued his stay-at-home order on March 21, needs to be clearer about how and when he is going to reopen the state.

Still, even his political foes have largely rallied around Mr. Murphy who, as a first-term governor seeking to steady a state that has become an epicenter of the outbreak, has emerged as a different type of Democratic voice.

His briefings — never commanding the limelight that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, has attracted — are emblematic of his governing style: deferential yet stoic, present but not overbearing, not likely to draw or seek the spotlight.

Reporting was contributed by Jonah Engel Bromwich, Edgar Sandoval, Nick Corasaniti, Melina Delkic, Azi Paybarah and Katie Van Syckle.

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