Most COVID-19 capacity limits to lift this month, governor says

Updated: May. 3, 2021 at 5:59 PM EDT
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NEW YORK (WWNY) - Many of the states COVID-19 capacity limits will be lifted in a little over two weeks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in New York City Monday that along with New Jersey and Connecticut, the New York will have “a major reopening on May 19.”

That’s when “most capacity restrictions will end across the tri-state area,” the governor said, including retail sales, restaurants, museums, theaters, Broadway, gyms and fitness centers, offices, beauty salons, and barbershops.

The governor called it “a significant moment of transition.”

However, he said, capacities could still be limited by the 6-foot distancing guideline recommended by the CDC.

The various venues’ capacities will be limited by how many people they can hold while still sticking to the 6-foot guideline. That will change, the governor said, when CDC guidance changes.

The 6-foot limit doesn’t apply if everyone is fully vaccinated or has a recent negative COVID-19 test.

Cuomo noted that would allow theater, stadium, and restaurant owners, for examples, to have more seats available for those who have been vaccinated than for those who have not.

Some New York re-openings won’t follow the tri-state plan, most of which were already announced, including:

- Lifting the curfew for outdoor dining on May 17

- Lifting the curfew for indoor dining on May 31.

- Increasing the capacity for large outdoor stadiums to 33 percent on May 19.

- Increasing the limit for indoor catered events to 250 on May 19. The limit changes to 500 if everyone is fully vaccinated or who has had a recent negative COVID-19 test.

- Increasing the limit to 50 people at residential gatherings on May 19.

The loosening restrictions come as the rate of COVID infections go down and the number of vaccinations goes up.

The governor said the state’s positivity rate declined by 50 percent last month and the number of hospitalizations went down 30 percent.

About 9 million New Yorkers have had at least 1 dose of a vaccine, while 7 million -- about 35 percent -- have been fully vaccinated.

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