That the coronavirus pandemic has altered the life of New York City is undeniable, but that the new victim of COVID-19 it was going to be the hitherto untouchable underground has been a surprise for many.
At his daily press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Starting next Wednesday, May 6, the means of transport will be closed between 1 and 5 in the morning.. The closure is presumed to be temporary but the reopening date is unknown at the moment. It is the first time in history that this iconic form of transportation will not operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for an extended period of time in history. Even after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, with the radical change in security controls, this decision had not been made.
Cuomo joined his announcement to a request made earlier this week by New York City Mayor Bill de Blassio, who He stated that underground hygiene was his main concern to combat the transmission of the virus. As Cuomo explained, these four hours a day will allow the employees of the transport system to disinfect all the cars. Otherwise, until now, deep disinfection could only be done every 72 hours.
“We know that the virus can live for up to days on surfaces, so fighting it daily is vital in this fight,” Cuomo explained.
Subways are the primary form of transportation in New York City. Before the pandemic, 5.5 million people used it daily. With the limitations to leave homes, the number of those who use this transport fell by 90 percent, but that still gives the important sum of 450 thousand travelers per day. It is estimated that eleven thousand people travel on these trains at dawn. For them they will make buses and vans available.
The cleaning of the cars is necessary not only for the passengers, but also for the employees. The transportation system, which combines subways and buses, employs 55,000 people. As of Thursday, 96 of them died as a result of COVID19.
Another problem associated with the closure of the underground is that of the homeless. Hundreds of homeless people shelter in the corridors of the stations at night. For deep cleaning they must be removed. The city offers shelters, but most of these shelters do not have the capacity to offer space for social distancing..
Some homeless protection foundations have already started a campaign calling for another solution to be found for the homeless.
According to the Governor’s statements, the intention is to restore normal service as soon as the pandemic problem is solved. But since there is no short-term date to think about overcoming the crisis, some fear that the cut service will become a new reality.
An email from one of the members of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Andrew Albert, is being disclosed on social networks, which was leaked from a private conversation, where he complains about having learned about the closure on television. Furthermore, Albert outlines the theory that this measure is the excuse that politicians sought years ago to save on public transport and provide a more limited service.
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