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Most of New York will be allowed to operate at full capacity this month

Capacity rules will be lifted for everything but stadiums, indoor catering and residential gatherings as of May 19!

By
Shaye Weaver
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Update: On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that only fully vaccinated New Yorkers can pack outdoor stadiums like Yankee Stadium and Citi Field at full, 100% capacity starting on May 19. 

Unvaccinated people will have their own sections limited to 33% capacity, following the CDC's six-foot social distancing guidelines.

To encourage folks to get vaccinated, both stadiums will set up vaccine facilities for fans to get the Johnson & Johnson shot while there as well as free tickets for future ball games who get the shot.

It's the moment New Yorkers have been waiting for. 

All capacity restrictions for restaurants, museums, gyms, amusement centers, offices, salons, theaters and retail stores will be lifted on May 19, heralding in a fully-open New York City.

Broadway is also allowed to reopen at full capacity on May 19, however, it is still not expected to start up again until September.

"This is a milestone for New York State—it's a significant moment of transition," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "We're going to get up smart and strong and united and make this a moment of opportunity."

Cuomo announced the decision on Monday during a press conference, saying the restrictions will be lifted as part of a regional tri-state effort to reopen as it did to originally close down.

"If New York has dramatically different rules than Connecticut, you'll see people driving back and forth and that helps no one," he said.

Outdoor stadiums will still be regulated at 33% capacity as well as indoor catered events, which will be allowed to have 250 people, and residential gatherings, which will go up to 50 people, as of May 19.

Despite there not being a capacity limit for most places, the CDC's guidance about six-foot social distancing will remain in place, which could affect some venues' decision to reopen. Besides, how can you let in 100% of people if they all have to be spaced apart?

With testing, however, if all people present proof of vaccination or recent negative test results at a given venue, the social distancing requirement is no longer necessary, which means capacity would naturally increase.

Indoor catered events, for example, can let in 250 people starting May 19, but with testing, the capacity goes up to 500.

New York State has already begun loosening rules—last week, it announced that the outdoor restaurant and bar curfew would be eliminated on May 17 and that their indoor curfew would be removed on May 31. Indoor dining is also going to increase to 75 percent capacity on May 7.

But you may have also heard last week that Mayor Bill de Blasio announced to fully reopen NYC on July 1. We don't think it's any coincidence that Cuomo decided to announce his big, regional opening plan on Monday.

Either way, we're on our way to some normalcy.

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