Friday, 07 May 2021 23:30

New York Joins New Jersey, Connecticut in Plan to Ease COVID-19 Restrictions

Written by Steve Bittenbender, The Center Square


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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on May 3 announced the most significant easing of COVID-restrictions since the pandemic began.

The move to reopen more of New York's economy came as part of a joint initiative with neighboring states New Jersey and Connecticut, which takes effect May 19.


On that date, New York will transition from a crowd cap based on a percentage of capacity to just a strict social distancing guideline. In short, that means most businesses---including food and entertainment venues---will be able to accommodate as many people as they can as long as parties remain 6 feet apart.


There are exceptions to the new rules, which Cuomo explained during a news conference. For one, restaurants can get by the six-foot rule if they put barriers between tables or dining stations.


“Also… if you have an operating plan for vaccinated people, then you can operate at less than 6 feet [of social distancing],” the governor added.


The changes come as the number of new vaccinations have fallen in recent weeks, so Cuomo was offering the guidance as incentives to increase vaccinations.


According to information from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, the state administered 355,801 doses on April 4. It has not topped 300,000 doses in a day since then. In all, about 16.1 million doses have been administered in New York, with 6.4 million people fully vaccinated.


Cuomo’s announcement wasn’t embraced warmly by everyone in the hospitality community, whose members will likely have to invest more money under the plan if they want to operate at or near full capacity.


In a tweet, Andrew Rigie, executive director for the New York City Hospitality Alliance, said...

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