Half of New York’s 10 regions are on track to enter Phase 4 of the state’s mandated four-phase reopening as the state continues its recovery from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes, North Country, Central New York, and Southern Tier are all set to enter Phase 4 of reopening their economies as of Friday, June 26, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, June 24 in Manhattan.
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In Phase 4:
- Low-risk, outdoor arts and entertainment, including zoos and botanical gardens can open up to 33 percent capacity;
- Indoor arts and entertainment, including museums and aquariums can open up to 25 capacity;
- Film and movie production can resume;
- Colleges, universities, and other higher education institutions can open;
- Professional sports without fans will resume.
Additionally, Cuomo said that in Phase 4, indoor religious gatherings will be allowed up to 33 percent capacity, up from 25 percent. Social gatherings will also be allowed up to 50 people in one setting, up from 25 in Phase 3.
Spring Training for the New York Mets, Yankees, and possibly the Toronto Blue Jays will also be permitted to open up as of Wednesday, July 1, with a 60-game regular season to kick off regionally two or three weeks later.
Cuomo said that health officials are still evaluating how best to open up malls, bars, and other indoor spaces that could be densely packed.
“New information comes out about this virus every day, and anyone who thinks this is a static situation is wrong,” Cuomo said. “We’re continuing to study the most recent developments, and what’s happening in other states.
“Our reopening was done intelligently, on the data, and based on what was best for the public health,” he added. “We saved lives, and our economy is the better for it. It was never a choice between saving lives or reopening … You either do both or neither.”
Statewide, there are currently 1,071 COVID-19 patients still hospitalized, the lowest since March 19, days after the pandemic first made its way to New York.
In the past 24 hours, there were 51,144 COVID-19 tests administered in the state, with 581 (1.1 percent) coming back positive. An average of 18 New Yorkers have died in the past three days.
“Our approach has been vindicated, and the phased reopening by data works,” Cuomo said. “You can’t have a political theory on how to handle a virus, it doesn’t respond.
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