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Photograph: Grace Chu

New York bans gatherings of 500 people

Collier Sutter

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has officially announced a statewide ban on gatherings of more than 500 people. So far, this is the most aggressive step New York has taken to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The "density reduction" plan will go into effect at 5pm on Friday and will apply to most of New York City’s concert venues, museums, sports games, and other locations. Broadway theaters will be shut down starting as soon as 5pm today (Thursday).

Small gatherings are currently still permitted, but venues that hold fewer than 500 people are required to reduce their occupancy by 50%, Cuomo stated at a press conference about the state's response to the spread of the disease. 

"Science dictates these decisions," Cuomo said. "This is about science. This is about data. And let the science and let the data make the decisions."

Schools, hospitals, nursing homes and mass transit hubs are among the facilities exempt from the new advisory.

As of Thursday, New York State has confirmed a total of 328 cases of the coronavirus, with 112 new cases overnight, Cuomo said. Of those cases, 148 are in Westchester County and 95 of them are here in New York City.

To keep up to date with coronavirus developments in NYC, check our ongoing list of cancellations and venue shutdowns. 


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