Cuomo ends capacity limits on NY businesses
Edward McKinley is reporting for the Times Union. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said May 3, the state will completely lift capacity limits on bars and restaurants, hair salons, gyms, offices, retail stores, museums, entertainment centers, theaters and others on May 19. “We are at a point now where we are going to take a major step forward on reopening," Cuomo said at a news conference in New York City. The reopening will be coordinated with New Jersey and Connecticut, he said. Although the capacity limits will be gone, businesses will still be required to enforce the six-foot social distancing rule as long as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it. However, that requirement creates an effective capacity limit for businesses depending on how much space they have. The state will update that rule if the CDC changes its six-foot rule, the governor said. For events that require a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination to attend, the six-foot rule does not have to be enforced. Cuomo said that he and his top advisors hope more events will require inoculation to attend, thereby creating more of an incentive to get vaccinated over time. Outdoor bars and restaurants will have their curfews lifted on May 17; curfews for indoor venues will be lifted at the end of May. The reopening is motivated by declining trends in COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates, Cuomo said. The state reported a 1.94 percent positivity rate May 3, a flat number of hospitalizations and 37 deaths. The Capital Region's positivity rate was 1.43 percent, among the lowest in the state. There have been 15.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered statewide to date, with 7 million fully inoculated and 9 million receiving a first dose. Read the full story in the Times Union.