Restaurants can now welcome customers at 75% of capacity, though social distancing regulations are still in place.
More good news is that these new limits will be in place for less than two weeks before they are lifted entirely, as all capacity restrictions are set to be lifted on May 19.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said the statewide positivity rate is now 1.22%, the lowest since October 22, while the seven-day average has dipped to 1.53%, marking 32 straight days of decline and the lowest level since October 30.
"As the COVID-19 numbers improve and more residents get vaccinated, we're reopening our economy and getting New Yorkers back to work," Cuomo said. "Our progress is a function of what New Yorkers do to slow the spread, so washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing remain important behaviors each of us can practice to keep everyone safe. We're also continuing to focus on making the vaccine more accessible, and that means expanding walk-ins and opening new pop-up sites to reach specific populations that have lower vaccination rates. New Yorkers have labored for a long time to get to the light at the end of the tunnel, and we need everyone to stay vigilant and keep working together so we can finally defeat this COVID beast for good."
Hospitalizations have dropped to 2,264, down 573 over the past week to the lowest level since November 17, while ICU patents are down to 571, the lowest since November 23.
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Still, 25 more deaths were reported Thursday to bring the state total to 42,211. New York has had more than 2 million cases since the start of the pandemic.
Full Details of Tri-State Reopening Announcement:
Effective May 19, most business capacities -- which are currently based upon percentage of maximum occupancy -- will be removed in New York and New Jersey. Businesses will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of 6 feet. This new distance-based maximum capacity will apply across commercial settings, including retail, food services, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services, among other settings. It will also apply in houses of worship.
Increase in Social and Residential Gathering Limits
In New York beginning May 10, the outdoor social gathering limit will increase from 200 to 500 people. Beginning May 19, the indoor social gathering limit will increase from 100 to 250 people. Also, the outdoor residential gathering limit of 25 people will be removed, reverting to the social gathering limit of 500 people with space for appropriate social distancing, and the indoor residential gathering limit will increase from 10 to 50 people. In New York, any event gatherings in excess of the social gathering limits may only occur if all individuals present proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result.
Congregate commercial and social events in New York-such as those at venues that host sports competitions, performing arts and live entertainment, and catered receptions-can exceed the social gathering limits of 500 people outdoors or 250 people indoors if all attendees over the age of four present either proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result and the required social distancing can be accommodated.
Starting May 19, large-scale indoor event venues will operate at 30 percent capacity, which is an increase from the current 10 percent capacity limit. Large-scale outdoor event venues will operate at 33 percent. Social distancing, masks, and other applicable health protocols will still apply, including the requirement of attendee proof of full vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test result.
Industry Reopening Requirements
While most industry capacity restrictions will be lifted, industry-specific requirements will remain in effect for a longer period of time, including state or local health authority event notification, health screening, contact information for tracing, enhanced air handling and building system standards, hand hygiene, and environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols. The state will continue to provide additional guidance on these provisions as they apply to each industry.
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