NEW YORK (WABC) -- Unhealthy air quality conditions from wildfires in Canada are expected to subside on Friday, allowing impacted schools and businesses across the Tri-State area to return to mostly normal operations.
SCHOOL ALERTS - Friday, June 8
Newark Public Schools will resume on Friday, however, recess and other outdoor activities during the school day will be held inside to serve as a precautionary measure.
Elizabeth Public Schools will operate on a half-day schedule on Friday.
In New York City, most public school students were already set to have Friday off. However, schools serving grades 9-12 and 6-12 in Districts 1-32 and 79 that were originally scheduled to attend have now shifted to remote instruction.
Updates for Friday will be added as they come in.
After closing early Wednesday, the New York Public Library planned a delayed opening at 11 a.m. Thursday, while the Brooklyn and Queens library systems were set to open as usual.
The city's zoos and the New York Aquarium were also closed Thursday for the safety of "staff, visitors and animals." Ticket holders will be given reschedule tickets.
Broadway is closely monitoring the air quality. Theater owners and producers decided to continue most shows Wednesday night, although Broadway productions of "Hamilton" and "Camelot," as well as a free Shakespeare in the Park production of "Hamlet," canceled performances.
The Yankees game against the Chicago White Sox that was set for Wednesday at Yankee Stadium was postponed and was made up as part of a single admission doubleheader starting at 4:05 p.m. Thursday, conditions permitting.
In the WNBA, the game between the New York Liberty and Minnesota Lynx at Barclays Center Wednesday in Brooklyn was postponed. The Giants and Jets practiced indoors on Thursday.
Racing at Belmont Park was canceled Thursday, two days before the facility is scheduled to host the final leg of the Triple Crown with the Belmont Stakes.
As previously announced, morning training was canceled Thursday at both Saratoga Race Course and Belmont Park. The conditions that necessitated the cancelation of training are likely to persist this afternoon and into the evening, according to the NYRA, and a twilight racing program that would kick off the 2023 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival has been cancelled.
"Based on current forecast models and consultation with our external weather services, we remain optimistic that we will see an improvement in air quality on Friday," NYRA President & CEO David O'Rourke said in a statement.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul warned the Belmont Stakes could be called off if the air quality index exceeds 200 on its scale.
If the air quality is 150 to 200, only horses that pass an additional pre-race vet examination will be permitted to race.
"People come from all over the country," Hochul said. "It's huge for the local economy. And so we ... hopefully can get this going, but there's no assurance of what the weather's going to be. So it's going to be a last minute decision, I'm sure."
Alternate Side Parking was suspended on Thursday and will remain suspended on Friday.
WHAT TO KNOW
Exposure to elevated fine particle pollution levels can affect the lungs and heart.
Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, SVP of Critical Care Services at Northwell says that smoke in the air "affects lots of different parts of your lungs. It causes you irritation, it causes people to cough, it causes difficulty breathing because the air is so heavy."
The air quality alerts caution "sensitive groups," a big category that includes children, older adults, and people with lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Kids, who often are encouraged to go out and play, "are more susceptible to smoke for a number of reasons," said Laura Kate Bender, the lung association's National Assistant Vice President, healthy air. "Their lungs are still developing, they breathe in more air per unit of body weight."
A toll-free air quality hotline has been established so New York residents can stay informed on the air quality situation. The toll-free number is 1-800-535-1345.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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