NY to relax gathering limits amid COVID. What to know about entertainment venues, residential
New York state will soon relax limits on gatherings at homes as well as smaller arts, entertainment and sporting venues as coronavirus cases continued to decline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
The new rules will allow event venues of under 10,000 patrons to reopen at up to 33% capacity, up to a maximum of 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. If attendees can provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours before entry, those caps increase to 150 people and 500 people, respectively. It takes effect April 2.
Further, new rules will allow social gatherings in public spaces of up to 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, up from the current 50 person cap. They will also allow 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors at residential homes, up from the current 10. The changes take effect March 22.
Requirements for wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing will remain in place as part of the new rules, state officials said.
The move comes after New York state last month allowed large sports arenas and large entertainment venues to open at 10% capacity with mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements and other coronavirus safety precautions.
The announcement came during Cuomo's first press briefing since Feb. 22, as his administration faced scandals surrounding it withholding nursing home COVID-19 death data and accusations of sexual harassment against Cuomo, including by two women who worked for him as aides.
It came as New York's statewide COVID-19 test positivity rate was about 3.1% on a seven-day average, continuing its steady decline since a post-holiday season surge that hit close to 8% test positivity.
"The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, but we can't stop driving now," Cuomo said, referring to his reopening plan seeking to sustain pandemic safety measures.
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