NYC Central Park horse carriage drivers return to work after coronavirus shutdown
Drivers were tested for COVID-19 via Mobile Health rapid tests
New York City’s horse-drawn carriage drivers are galloping back into business after being out of work for six months during the pandemic.
The iconic horse-drawn carriages, a longtime tourist attraction, hit the pavement Saturday for the first time since March with new health and safety precautions.
Before picking up passengers in the park, on Saturday carriage drivers were tested for COVID-19 by testing company Mobile Health, which administered rapid results for drivers before heading to work, according to the New York Post. Hand sanitizer is also available during the open-air ride.
Drivers also offered free rides to first-responders and health care workers with IDs on the first day back, the outlet reported.
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The carriage rides were just one major tourist-driven attraction in NYC devastated by pandemic shutdowns, joining restaurants, bars, movie theaters and Broadway.
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Meanwhile, the carriages have long been slammed by animal welfare activists, who argue the practice is inhumane. In 2013, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to ban the carriages from Central Park. His administration in 2018 moved the location where horses pick up passengers to boarding areas inside the park.