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Rethinking Indoor Dining in N.Y.C.

Weather: A high of around 80, with a slight chance of morning showers and thunderstorms later in the day.

Credit…Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, worried about the surge in coronavirus cases in the South and the West, decided to forgo the usual chart of new virus cases at his news briefing on Monday. Instead, he unveiled a foam replica of a mountain to illustrate the trajectory of infections in New York State, once a center of the pandemic.

“We don’t want to climb this mountain again,” Mr. Cuomo said, noting that he would be re-evaluating New York City’s reopening, including plans to allow indoor dining. New guidance is expected to come on Wednesday.

Hours later, Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said that indoor dining, which was set to resume in his state Thursday, would be postponed “indefinitely.”

The prospect of indoor dining comes as more New Yorkers are disregarding rules on social distancing and face coverings.

[Read more: New York and New Jersey are reconsidering the pace of reopening.]

On July 6, New York City will be the last region in the state to enter Phase 3 of a four-phase reopening plan. The phase is set to allow indoor dining at 50 percent of occupancy; diners must also maintain social distancing.

New Yorkers are currently limited to takeout and delivery service, or outdoor dining.

Phase 3 also permits tattoo and piercing parlors, nail salons and other personal care businesses to operate. Outdoor recreational spaces, including basketball courts and dog runs, can also reopen.

As temperatures warmed this month, New Yorkers — some not in masks — began crowding streets outside bars and restaurants and public spaces. That alarmed Mr. Cuomo as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio, who on Monday expressed reservations about dining in.

“Phase 3 is moving on pace for Monday, July 6,” the mayor said at a news briefing. “But the indoor-dining element is now in question.”

Mr. Cuomo is also concerned that out-of-state visitors or returning residents will bring the virus back, prompting a second wave of infections. Last week, he, Mr. Murphy and Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut had announced that anyone arriving from a state currently hard hit by the coronavirus would have to quarantine for two weeks.

The unease over a possible resurgence of the coronavirus in the New York area is warranted. In recent days, states and cities across the country have paused or rolled back reopenings after spikes in cases.

On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California rescinded the decision to reopen bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles. And in Florida, the city of Jacksonville said on Monday that face coverings would now be mandatory in any indoor public place where social distancing was not possible. The city is scheduled to host the Republican National Convention in August.

Kennedy Airport is the first airport in the country to have a coronavirus testing facility. [Daily News]

Judy Mandell writes:

The words “I love you,” spoken for the first time, are milestones that let you know where a romantic relationship stands.

In one memorable “Seinfeld” episode, Jerry asks George if he told his girlfriend he loved her. “Oh, I had no choice,” he replied. “She squeezed it out of me! She’d tell me she loved me. All right, at first, I just look at her. I’d go, ‘Oh, really?’ or ‘Boy, that’s, that’s something.’ But eventually you have to come back with ‘Well, I love you.’ You know, you can only hold out for so long!”

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated June 24, 2020

    • Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?

      A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

    • I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

      The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

    • What is pandemic paid leave?

      The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

Knowing just when to say “I love you” can be difficult for some people. “Just saying those three words too early could complicate the relationship,” said Jonathan Bennett, an owner of Double Trust Dating, which provides coaching, classes and support for those seeking relationships. “On the other hand, if you don’t say it, the relationship might never progress.”

A study conducted last year by the Ascent, a subsidiary of the financial services company Motley Fool, found that a majority of the 1,012 couples interviewed across the country didn’t tell their partners “I love you” until six months into the relationship.

In our own romantic research, 10 couples shared how their stories played out. Here’s one of those stories, from a couple in Brooklyn:

Allie Fleder, 32, met Annie Burns, 33, in April 2013 at lesbian night in a gay bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Two weeks later Ms. Felder told Ms. Burns that she loved her over dinner in the West Village. “Allie choked on her wine in shock and thought I was crazy,” Ms. Fleder said. “But she said it back to me the next month and we’ve been saying it every day for seven years.”

Ms. Fleder is the chief operating officer of SimplyWise, a start-up company that helps people with financial decisions about retirement. Ms. Burns is a film producer for a social impact agency. Both started new jobs during the pandemic.

“We work crazy hours all week and weekend as we try to build relationships with our new co-workers over Zoom calls, and seek to understand the new realities for our new companies given the crisis,” Ms. Fleder said. “But we feel extremely lucky to be working, while so many of our friends have been furloughed or laid off.”

It’s Tuesday — share your feelings.

Dear Diary:

The bus was crowded when my sister Joan and I got on. Standing room only. We grabbed an overhead rail and hung on.

At 42nd Street, many of the passengers got off, and we were lucky to grab two seats together right behind the driver before a new crowd boarded.

As the bus, now filled again with standing riders, proceeded, I noticed that the seat next to the one where Joan was sitting was empty.

One after another, passengers approached the empty seat, looked down and moved on.

Strange, I thought. Then I looked more closely and saw the reason: There was a ripe banana in the middle of the seat.

I nudged Joan and warned her that an unobservant person might come along and just plop down on the seat. If that happened, I said, she could wind up with banana purée all over her clothes.

She picked the banana up carefully and placed it on the window ledge behind the seat. Someone sat there immediately.

We got off at 21st Street. The banana continued on downtown.

— Marie King

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