New York City lifted the curfew that had been in place due to protests against police brutality ahead of schedule on Sunday, after a peaceful night of demonstrations.
“I want to thank everybody who has expressed their views peacefully,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday morning. “I made the decision to end the curfew. And honestly, I hope it’s the last time we will ever need a curfew in New York City.”
Although he dropped the curfew, the mayor said he has not made a decision on whether to lift a ban on vehicles in Manhattan south of 96th Street after 8 p.m.
The 8 p.m. citywide curfew, which was New York’s first in decades, was to remain in effect through at least Sunday, with officials planning to lift it when the city enters the first phase of reopening from the coronavirus.
The mayor’s move followed New York City police also deciding to retreat on enforcing the curfew Saturday, as thousands of residents marched and rallied, following the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
New York City: We are lifting the curfew, effective immediately. Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city.
Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart. Keep staying safe. Keep looking out for each other.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 7, 2020
The end of the curfew comes as the Big Apple prepares to start reopening some businesses on Monday, including manufacturing and construction companies, wholesalers and retailers.
Retailers will still not be allowed to have customers inside for a few more weeks, although curbside pickup and delivery will be offered.
Between 200,000 and 400,000 people are expected to return to their workplaces in the city Monday, many of them by taking a subway system that most have avoided due to difficulty maintain social distance.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also reiterating his call for people who have attended protest marches to get tested for the coronavirus.
”Get a test. Get a test,” the governor said Sunday, adding that the state plans to open 15 testing sites dedicated just to protesters so they can get results quickly. “I would act as if you were exposed, and I would tell people you are interacting with, assume I am positive for the virus.”