Cuomo says he’ll lift COVID capacity restrictions on bars, restaurants, theaters and offices across tri-state area on May 19 – but people still need to stay 6ft apart unless they can prove they are all vaccinated
- Starting May 19, bars, restaurants, offices, beauty salons and shops can resume operating at 100 percent capacity
- The rules apply not just to NY state but also New Jersey and Connecticut
- If everyone is vaccinated, the 6ft rule does not apply; if not everyone is vaccinated, it has to be enforced
- Cuomo didn’t explain how businesses and offices would be expected to check if everyone is vaccinated
- He also didn’t say what would happen if they didn’t enforce the 6ft rule
- Cuomo’s timeline is much faster than Bill de Blasio’s previous promise that NYC would fully reopen on July 1
- Sports venues are not included; they still have to reopen at 33 percent
Governor Cuomo said he will lift most remaining COVID capacity restrictions on May 19 but people still need to remain 6ft apart unless they can prove they are all vaccinated
Governor Cuomo said he will lift most remaining COVID capacity restrictions on May 19 but people still need to remain 6ft apart unless they can prove they are all vaccinated.
Cuomo announced the new rule on Monday at his press briefing. The rules apply not just to New York but also to New Jersey and Connecticut, he said.
He said that starting May 19, ‘most’ capacity restrictions will end for offices, retail, restaurants, gyms, fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops.
He didn’t say how businesses and offices would be expected to check if everyone coming into their venue was vaccinated.
He has already launched the New York Excelsior Pass – a smartphone app that shows when a person was fully vaccinated.
Cuomo also did not say what would happen to the business or office if they were allowing people to mingle, without keeping a 6ft distance, if they aren’t vaccinated.
‘It is: fully open subject to 6ft,’ is all he’d say.
The other way to get around the 6ft rule in restaurants, he said, without checking if everyone is vaccinated is with physical barriers. It’s unclear if offices can get around the rule with barriers, without checking if people are vaccinated.
Cuomo said he hopes businesses will choose to prioritize letting people in who have been vaccinated so it will incentivize more to get it.
‘I am trying to promote this. If you have an operating plan for vaccinated people, you can operate at less than 6ft.
‘The vaccination numbers are going down. There are benefits to being vaccinated. Why should I get vaccinated? Beyond just your safer and won’t hurt anyone else, you can go to a restaurant that allows vaccinated people.
‘If I am a theater owner or baseball club, I’ll tell you what I’d do – I propose more seats for vaccinated people and if you’re vaccinated, I don’t have to live within 6ft so I have more seats for vaccinated people and non-vaccinated people, you have the 6ft rule.
‘You want to go to a ball game? Get vaccinated. You want to go to a movie theater? Get vaccinated. You want to go to a restaurant? Get vaccinated. I think that’s good,’ he said.
Most businesses cannot keep people 6ft apart if they are operating at a full capacity – which is why the capacity rules were brought in in the first place.
Currently, bars and restaurants can operate at a 50 percent capacity. It will increase to 75 percent on May 7.
Under Cuomo’s rule, that will increase to 100 percent on May 19 but only if people can be kept 6ft apart – unless the restaurant can prove that every patron is vaccinated.
The subway will resume 24/7 hours on May 17.
Curfews on bars and restaurants are also being lifted on May 17 for outdoor bars and restaurants and May 19 for indoor venues.
Broadway theaters will be allowed to reopen, like others across the city, on May 19 but because of the time it takes for them to produce plays and sell tickets, shows won’t resume until September.
Cuomo’s timeline is weeks faster than New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had given July 1 as the reopening date. He gave credit to the rapid vaccine roll-out.