UN preparing for gradual reopening of NYC HQ

The UN is making preparations for the phased reopening of its headquarters in New York City, said a spokesman.

Preparations are going through a senior emergency management group, which exists just for the COVID-19 crisis, with inputs from various UN departments, guided by the UN medical authorities, and in close contact with the host city of New York, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said on Friday.

“They will meet again very soon to give some guidance to the secretary-general as to when to move to a next step, which could see a kind of phased reopening,” he told a virtual press briefing.

The UN is identifying critical staff that would need to be in the building.

The reopening would also depend on the wishes of member states, he said.

“Preparations are under way in terms of signage, in terms of workspaces. But we’re taking it… one phase at a time,” he said.

“We don’t want to rush this. But we do want to be able to move forward when we feel it is safe to have an uptick in the number of people that will be allowed in the building at any one time.”

The current lockdown, which began on March 16, lasts till the end of June.