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Cuomo Says New York Is Now 'Decidedly In The Reopening Phase'

New York is "decidedly in the reopening phase," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday, as the state hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic gave sports leagues, campgrounds and veterinarian offices the green light to start up again, with modifications.

Professional sports leagues in the state are now able to begin training camps, Cuomo said during his daily press conference, adding that having teams come back, even without spectators, would mark a "return to normalcy."

"I believe that sports that can come back, without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena, do it," Cuomo said. "Do it. Work out the economics if you can, we want you up."

The Yankees and Mets were reported to be considering resuming spring training in Florida, but the Democratic governor's announcement would offer a path for them to do so at their stadiums in the Bronx and Queens, respectively. The NBA said Saturday it's in talks with Disney to restart its season in late July at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida.

While New York has made substantial progress in its fight against the pandemic in the last month — deaths have fallen on average to around 100 a day in the last week — Cuomo said Sunday that number rose slightly over the weekend.

On Saturday, 109 people in New York died from the virus, up from 84 on Friday.

The overall downward trend in New York COVID-19 related deaths stands in stark contrast tonumbers from March and April, when the coronavirus pandemic was raging across the state. To date, New York has recorded nearly 360,000 cases and more than 28,000 deaths.

Cuomo's remarks followed his signing of an order Fridaypermitting state beaches to open for Memorial Day weekend at 50% capacity but with social distancing and other safety precautions in place.

A day ahead of Memorial Day, Cuomo also announced all campgrounds and RV parks would be able to reopen on Monday.

New York veterinarian practices will be allowed to open up on Tuesday, Cuomo said.

The governor also warned the state to not let up on social distancing or mask wearing, recallingthe deadly second wave of the 1918 flu pandemic.

"You look back and look at the places that opened in an uncontrolled way, and you see that the virus came back, and came back with a fury," Cuomo said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Hannah Hagemann is a 2019 Kroc Fellow. During her fellowship, she will work at NPR's National Desk and Weekend Edition.