New York to ease restrictions on some indoor and outdoor gatherings

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Gino Spocchia
·2 min read
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<p>New York to ease restrictions on entertainment venues</p> (AFP via Getty)

New York to ease restrictions on entertainment venues

(AFP via Getty)

Restrictions on outdoors social gatherings and indoor public venues will be loosened in New York, according to governor Andrew Cuomo.

Mr Cuomo, speaking on Wednesday for the first time since an investigation into sexual harassment allegations were announced against him, laid-out the plan for easing restrictions from 22 March.

It will see increased limits on outdoor gatherings, as well as those for indoors public venues, in the hope that the state’s entertainment sector will slowly reopen from the Covid-19 shutdown in the coming months.

Mr Cuomo said limits on private outdoor gatherings will rise from 10 to 25 people, and from 50 to 200 people for public outdoor gatherings.

At the same time, the limit on indoor public events will see limits rise from 50 to 100, with social distancing and mask wearing continuing to be required.

Read more: ‘Neanderthal thinking’: Biden criticises Texas and Mississippi governors for dropping coronavirus restrictions

The news on easing restrictions in the state comes almost a year on from the first Covid-19 shutdown imposed in the state — and in spite of a small increase in cases in the past week.

New York, as well as neighbouring New Jersey, are averaging 38 new cases per 100,000 people, according to analysis by the New York Times, while the country as a whole is averaging 20 per 100,000 people.

Mr Cuomo, also on Wednesday, said entertainment venues can reopen at 33 per cent capacity, with a limit of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, with mask and social distancing requirements, from 12 April.

If all attendees test negative before entering the events, the limits will rise to 150 indoors and 500 people outdoors, Mr Cuomo said, opening up the potential for the first live performances in the city in around a year.

Mr Cuomo, under pressure following sexual harassment allegations, went on to say that he would not resign from his position of governor, but apologised publicly for them first time since last week.

He added that he would "fully cooperate" with the state attorney general’s investigation into the claims made by three women last week, who include former aides.

The announcement of the easing of restrictions comes as other states, including Texas and Mississippi, plan on dropping all pandemic-related guidelines — in apparent ignorance of the threat posted by new variants of Covid-19.

New York, according to Mr Cuomo, will receive 164,000 doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. Some 4,607,571 people — or roughly 15 per cent of the state’s population — have so far received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the Times.

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