LIRR trains to add capacity as Long Island eyes coronavirus reopening
Long Island Rail Road trains will run with extra cars to accommodate social distancing in time for the island’s anticipated reopening from the coronavirus this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.
“Long Island is on track to meet the numbers on Wednesday,” said Cuomo, referring to the seven state metrics for reopening measuring hospital admissions, deaths, available beds, testing and tracing. “We’re preparing for Long Island to open.”
Cuomo also announced a handful of other reopenings: Campgrounds and RV parks can reopen Monday, while veterinary practices can resume service on Tuesday.
Part of the effort to re-open Long Island is shoring up the LIRR to ensure that they can safely serve those cleared to head back to work under the first phase, which includes such sectors as construction, manufacturing, landscaping and curbside pick-up retail, Cuomo told reporters at the Jones Beach Theatre in Wantagh, LI.
“They’re going to add more cars to the trains, so people can space out and socially distance when Long Island opens,” said Cuomo. “I want people to remember that a mask is mandatory on public transportation.
“I think you’re making a mistake, a grave mistake if you don’t use a mask in your own personal life.”
The extra trains are a precaution in addition to the efforts to disinfect every MTA train and bus every day.
While Long Island is expected to reopen Wednesday, the Mid-Hudson is on track to ease back into normalcy even earlier, Cuomo said, with the metrics pointing to a Tuesday reopening.
That leaves just one of the state’s 10 economic regions on the outside looking in: New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that the Big Apple is on pace to catch up as early as June 1, and Cuomo has said nothing to dampen that expectation, so long as the Big Apple meets the metrics.
Still, the governor urged caution.
“Everybody’s paid a high price for what we’ve gone through,” he said. “Some people have paid an extraordinarily high price.”
None has paid a higher price than the 23,391 New Yorkers now confirmed to have died to the coronavirus, including 109 in the 24-hour period ending at midnight Sunday.
After the state logged 84 deaths in the period prior — the lowest single-day total since late March — the toll jumped back up on Saturday, a stark reminder that the battle is not yet won.
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