Speaking to reporters during a surprise news conference on Thursday, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city will be fully reopened, "all systems go," on July 1 - just three days before Independence Day in the US.
The mayor highlighted that in order for this to happen, city residents must continue to get vaccinated.
"Everyone who hasn't yet been vaccinated, come forward now. This is the time. This is the right moment. It's easier than ever. It's simple. It's convenient. Let's keep moving with vaccinations," he urged.
According to data from the city's health department, more than 7.5 million COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered throughout NYC's five boroughs, and over 6.4 million vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo chastised de Blasio's remarks in his own news conference in Buffalo, New York, arguing that setting such reopening projections is simply "irresponsible" because "reopening means, literally, everything back to normal."
"We're not through the woods yet." — Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio said he wants to reopen NYC by July. pic.twitter.com/kTqNG9IOJW— The Recount (@therecount) April 29, 2021
At the same time, the Democratic governor appeared hopeful about the statewide lifting of COVID-19-related restrictions.
"July 1 - you have May, June, what happens in May? What happens in June?" Cuomo said. "I'd like to get the hopeful reopening date before that. I don't want to wait that long. I think if we do what we have to do we can reopen earlier."
"There is no person who will safely reopen faster than myself," he said.
According to de Blasio's Thursday remarks, he and Cuomo have yet to discuss NYC's plans or any related thresholds.
Despite being members of the same political party, Cuomo and de Blasio have remained longtime rivals in politics.
More recently, de Blasio has repeatedly suggested the New York governor resign amid several allegations of sexual misconduct and unwanted contact with numerous women - many of them current, or former state employees. Additionally, Cuomo's administration has come under fire for allegedly carrying out a months-long plot to hide the true COVID-19-related death toll of New York nursing homes.
Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing, and even took time to speak directly against de Blasio during the news conference.
"First, the mayor of New York, I don’t know what he’s indicative of," Cuomo said.
"Ask the people of New York what they think about the mayor of New York City and I’ll second their opinion," he added.