ALBANY, N.Y. — As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continue to go down, and more people are getting vaccinated, New York State is beginning the reopening process.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement during a press briefing on Monday.
"The tide is turning against COVID-19 in New York, and thanks to our increasing vaccination rates, as well as our successful, data-based regional approach, we're able to take more steps to reopen our economy, help businesses and workers, and keep moving towards returning to normal," Governor Cuomo said.
"Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers and our partners in government, we are now able to increase capacity limits for businesses, event venues and residences to reflect what we're seeing in the COVID data. Maintaining this progress is critical and in order to keep moving in a positive direction, New Yorkers must continue to take all the proper precautions. If we let up now, we could slide backwards and that is something nobody wants. So, let's be safe and for anyone who has yet to be vaccinated, please do so as soon as you can. With the addition of walk-in appointments, we've made it as easy as every to get your shot, so there are truly no excuses."
Beginning May 19, most capacity restrictions will end across the tri-state (NY, CT and NJ) area that includes retail stores, food services, gyms, fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops, offices, etc...
That also includes houses of worship, museums and theaters.
The governor said it will be a "smart" reopening and opening will not be a light switch.
"It's a measured reopen. It's a phased-reopening. But we are at a point now where we are going to take a major step forward in reopening," said Cuomo.
Indoor catered events currently have a 250 person capacity, but will go to 500 on May 19 with testing and/or proof of vaccinations. Outdoor, large stadiums will go to 33% capacity.
The state will continue to follow the CDC guidelines of six feet social distancing. That means capacity restrictions are still subjected to the six feet social distancing. However, if events can show vaccinations and/or negative COVID tests, the six foot social distance limit would not apply.
Seven million New York residents are fully vaccinated so far, according to the governor. Health officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated.