NEW YORK (WSYR) — On Monday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press briefing in New York City where he updated the state on coronavirus and announced that on May 19, New York State will be reopening.
What does that mean? That means that on May 19, most capacity restrictions in New York State will be lifted. That includes retail establishments, food services, gyms, fitness centers, amusement parks, entertainment, hair salons, barbershops, and offices.
Cuomo said, however, “They may make their own economic decisions.”
Cuomo added that stadiums in the state will be able to be at 33% capacity as of May 19. On May 17, the outdoor food and beverage curfew will be lifted and on May 31, the indoor food and beverage curfew will be lifted.
New York State will still be following the CDC guidelines of six feet of space, so that will impact how many people can be in an establishment.
“It’s fully open, subject to six feet,” Cuomo clarified.
Later in the briefing, it was clarified that in restaurants, if barriers were in place, the six-foot guidance could be relaxed.
Vaccinations and COVID-19 positivity rates
Cuomo also updated New Yorkers on the positivity rates across the state. He said that the overall positive infection rate is 1.79%, which is down more than 50% over the last month.
Cuomo also commented on vaccinations in the state. He said that according to the CDC, New York State has the highest number of adults vaccinated that any other large state. More than 9 million New Yorkers have had one dose of the vaccine, while over 7 million New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.
“We still have more to do when it comes to vaccinations and vaccinations are key,” Cuomo said.
Right now the focus is on vaccinating the younger population and the doubtful people.
“It is irrefutable when you look at the numbers that New York has made progress,” Cuomo said.
Social distance-based business capacities
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% capacity, which is an increase from the current 10% capacity limit. Large-scale outdoor event venues will operate at 33%. 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.