Many COVID Restrictions Lifted as of May 19
Real Estate In-Depth | May 3, 2021
ALBANY—In a joint announcement with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that most industry capacity restrictions will be lifted as of May 19.
One key caveat to the easing is that businesses will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of six 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.
“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,” Gov. Cuomo said.
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, state officials said.
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 four 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, state officials noted.
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 governor also announced today that the New York City subway system will resume 24 hour a day service beginning May 17. In April, MTA New York City Transit officials announced 2,009,025 trips were recorded on the subway on April 8, the first time that more than two million trips were taken on the subway since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. The MTA will continue its disinfection and cleaning effort. The resumption of 24-hour service will coincide with the governor’s announcement lifting the 12 a.m. food and beverage service curfew for outdoor dining areas.
On April 30, Governor Cuomo announced that 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 that hair salons, barber shops 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, Governor Cuomo announced that the food and beverage service, and catered event, curfews would end this month.