Citi Field prepares to open as mega COVID vaccination site in Queens

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Starting Wednesday, Citi Field will be for Queens what Yankee Stadium is for the Bronx, with a few differences.

The new mega vaccination site will operate for residents of Queens who qualify to get vaccinated, as well as TLC drivers and food delivery workers.

Unlike Yankee Stadium, this is run by the city and so appointments are made on the city's website.

Long Island Rail Road will make an additional stop on all Port Washington Branch trains to help transport people to and from the vaccination site at Citi Field. The additional stop at Mets-Willets Point will be made indefinitely around the clock for as long as the vaccination site remains open.

Direct service will be available from Penn Station, Woodside, and all stations on the Port Washington Branch. The ride from Penn is just 19 minutes. Customers from other LIRR branches must transfer at Woodside for Port Washington Branch trains to and from Mets-Willets Point. Port Washington Branch trains operate approximately every 30 minutes during the day, and less frequently at night.

"We are proud to provide LIRR service as an additional means of travel getting everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible in our fight against this pandemic," said LIRR President Phil Eng. "With the light at the end of the tunnel shining brighter, we ask everyone to stay vigilant and practice all the necessary safety measures keeping yourself and others safe."

Following a White House conference call, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday states can anticipate an additional 5% increase in vaccine allocations -- this is partially because Pfizer is able to deliver 50 million more doses this quarter than originally promised.

"The 5% increase doesn't sound like much, but that is on top of 16% increase, then 5%," he said. "This is a third announcement of 5%. 16+5+5. Over the past few weeks it has been relatively significant. Again, not proportionate to the need, but that has been helpful."

States will now receive more than 25% increase from what they received during the Trump administration.

Cuomo said the Biden administration remains "adamantly opposed to using second doses for first doses," but the state will reallocate some of unused vaccine initially earmarked to nursing homes. The state believes that federal program was "over-allocated."

10% of state residents have received the first dose of the vaccine, according to officials.

On Friday, indoor dining returns to all five boroughs at 25% capacity.

The industry pleaded with Governor Andrew Cuomo to increase that capacity even higher and let them stay open past the 10 p.m. curfew.

Governor Cuomo would not agree to that, but he did compromise on the start date which initially was Sunday.

"They have made the point that they would like to open a couple of days earlier, so they can be ready for Valentine's Day, get the staff oriented, get the staff into the restaurants. And that's a reasonable request, so we will start indoor dining on Friday at 25%," Cuomo said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio says tens of thousands of middle school students will go back for in-person learning starting February 25.

RELATED: NYC announces date for middle schools to reopen to in-person learning

About half of them will make the switch to full five day in-person instruction, the rest will go in person part-time with the goal of working towards full time.

There will be weekly testing.

The mayor also said the goal is to get high school students back in person this school year.

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