Businesses work to prepare for May 19 reopening in NY

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a "major reopening" of New York state scheduled for May 19, when capacity limits will be fully lifted for retail stores, restaurants, bars, gyms, fitness centers, recreational venues, hair salons, offices, and more.

Video Transcript

- It's 5:34. Turning now to the coronavirus pandemic-- major capacity changes are just over two weeks away. On May 19, every state in our area will lift most of the current restrictions. On top of that, subways in New York City are set to resume 24-hour service in a big move that will help people get back to work, especially those who work on the overnight.

Eyewitness News reporter Candace McCowan is live in Hell's Kitchen with the details on these changes. Good morning, Candace.

CANDACE MCCOWAN: Ken, good morning to you. And life as we have known it for the past 14 months could be soon changing. Now, when you hear capacity restrictions are being lifted, many might think that we can pack into restaurants again, but that's just simply not the case.

First, Governor Cuomo announcing that the MTA will resume 24-hour subway service on the 17th. 24-hour subway service coincides with the lifting of the curfew on outdoor dining the same day. Well, two days later on May 19, the state opens up.

The changes impact restaurants, gyms, salons, offices, and more. While capacity limits will be lifted, they will be replaced but the CDC's 6-foot distancing requirement. Now, once you're vaccinated, in which case those rules could be relaxed.

ANDREW CUOMO: If you have an operating plan for vaccinated people, then you can operate at less than 6 feet. If you want to go to a ballgame, get vaccinated. If you want to go to a movie theater, get vaccinated. If you want to go to a restaurant, get vaccinated. I think that's good.

CANDACE MCCOWAN: Well, technically, Broadway will also be able to open on the 19th without capacity limits, but it will be still some time before theaters can be cleaned out and shows are up and running. Broadway is still aiming for a September return. And as we return with those lifting restrictions, many businesses looking to rehire as they prepare for those increased crowds.