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√ Beginning May 19, given vaccination progress & COVID-19 case decline
√ Business capacity limits to be replaced with space available to maintain 6 feet of social distancing on May 19 in New York & New Jersey
√ In NYS, outdoor social gathering limit increases to 500 on May 10 in New York; indoor social gathering limit increases to 250 on May 19; outdoor residential gathering limit is removed and indoor residential gathering limit increases to 50 on May 19
√ Large-scale indoor venue capacity increases to 30% & large-scale outdoor venue capacity increases to 33% on May 19
√ Proof of vaccination or recent negative test still required in New York
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday announced a “significant easing” of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on the region's businesses, venues and gatherings given “significant progress” in vaccinations and sustained reduction in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Social Distance-Based Business Capacities
New York and New Jersey announced:
•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 4 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.
"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," 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."
Murphy said, "With our COVID-19 numbers, particularly hospitalizations, trending decisively in the right direction and our vaccination goals within reach, now is the time to take major steps to reopen our economy and loosen both indoor and outdoor gathering and capacity restrictions. We've done this the right way, in partnership with our neighboring states of New York and Connecticut, and by allowing data, science and public health to guide our decision-making. Over these next few weeks, I encourage all remaining eligible New Jerseyans to get vaccinated so we can continue fighting back against this virus and move toward a 'new normal' for ourselves, our neighbors and our loved ones."
Lamont said, "Our region has led by example since the beginning of the pandemic, taking the virus seriously and working collaboratively across state lines to the benefit of all of our residents. We were able announce the elimination of business restrictions due to a nation-leading vaccine distribution program, which benefits all Connecticut residents, and our neighbors in New York and New Jersey."
Today's announcement builds on Cuomo's recent measures to further reopen the economy amid a steady decline in New York's COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates.
On April 30, he announced New York City indoor dining will expand to 75% capacity beginning May 7, bringing New York City in line with the rest of New York. The governor also announced hair salons, barbershops and other personal care services will expand to 75% capacity beginning May 7. New York City gyms and fitness centers will expand to 50% capacity beginning May 15. On April 28, Cuomo announced the food and beverage service, and catered event curfews would end in May.