New York announces ‘significant easing’ of COVID restrictions, starting mid-May


New York plans a big rollback of COVID-19 restrictions later this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.

In a release, the state detailed the plans for “significant easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on businesses, gatherings and venues,” starting mid-May.

Here they are:

capacity limit changes (starts May 19)

Instead of business capacity limits based on a percentage of maximum occupancy, there will be a limit based on social distancing protocols.

Different parties must be at least six feet apart from each other.

Here’s a statement from the governor’s office on the places this effects:

“This new distance-based maximum capacity goes for commercial settings, including retail, food services, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services, among other settings. It will also apply in houses of worship.”

increase in gathering limits

A breakdown of the new gathering limit rules:

  • As of May 10, outdoor social gathering limits increase from 200 to 500 people.

The below go into effect May 19:

  • New York’s social gather limits will increase from 100 to 250 people.
  • The outdoor residential gathering limit of 25 people is removed. Now up to 500 people will be allowed to gather for a residential outdoor event as long as there is enough space to social distance.
  • Indoor residential gathering limits increase from 10 to 50 people.
  • Events exceeding social gathering limits may occur as long as guests present proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result. This includes sports competitions, performing arts and live entertainment, and catered receptions.
  • Large-scale indoor events can operate at 30 percent, up from its prior 10 percent capacity.
  • Large-scale outdoor events can operate at 33 percent.

business curfews lifted

Last week, on April 28, the governor also announced that the curfew on catered events and dining establishments will come to an end by this month.

The midnight shutdown time for food and beverage service in outdoor dining areas ends on May 17 and will be lifted at indoor businesses on May 31.

The 1 a.m. curfew for catered events with proof of vaccination status or negative COVID-19 result ends May 17. All catered events curfews will be lifted May 31.

“The tide is turning against COVID-19 in New York, and thanks to our increasing vaccination rates, as well as our successful, data-based regional approach, we’re able to take more steps to reopen our economy, help businesses and workers, and keep moving towards returning to normal,” said Cuomo.

For more information, click here.

Top: Outdoor dining at flora in Westhampton (courtesy).