Continuing his incremental push to bring New York back to business as usual, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that he would be raising capacity limits in offices, outdoor stadiums and a small selection of other public settings. The governor said the move was prompted by the increase in vaccinations and the downward trend in the rate of positive COVID-19 tests statewide, citing the lowest mark since Thanksgiving.
Starting on May 15th, offices will be allowed to function at 75% capacity, up from 50%. Casinos will be able to get half full instead of operating at 25% of their regular volume. Outside of the city, gyms and fitness centers can increase to 50% capacity starting on May 15th—but within the five boroughs, the cap will remain at 33%.
“If we keep being smart, you will see a continual reopening,” Cuomo said.
Starting on May 19th, outdoor stadiums across the state will be allowed to move from 20% to 33% attendance.
“This has been conducted on the facts since we began,” Cuomo said during a press conference in Syracuse on Monday. “If you tell me what the positivity rate is doing, if you tell me what the vaccination rate is doing, then I can tell you what the rate of reopening is. As our positivity is coming down and our vaccination is going up, you’re going to see more reopening.”
For now, though, the governor remains steadfast on certain restrictions. The curfew for bars and restaurants was recently extended from 11 p.m. to midnight. Asked by a reporter if he would consider pushing it to 2 a.m., the governor said that decision was premature. Pressed on whether the virus was more likely to spread after midnight than before midnight, he said, “Yes.”
“I’m very aggressive. I want to open everything tomorrow,” Cuomo said. But he noted that while the positivity rate for COVID-19 is down, 41 people across the state still died from the virus yesterday. And after initial success, vaccine demand also appears to be dropping in New York City.
“We’re not past it,” Cuomo said. “We’re getting past it because we’re smart and we’re doing smart things.”