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COVID-19: NY Sets Date To End Most Capacity Restrictions, Curfews

Many COVID-19 restrictions put in place on New York businesses will be lifted on Wednesday, May 19.
Many COVID-19 restrictions put in place on New York businesses will be lifted on Wednesday, May 19. Photo Credit: ny.gov

A host of COVID-19 restrictions in New York are set to be rescinded as part of a massive tri-state effort as the country continues to recover from the pandemic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that beginning on Wednesday, May 19, most pandemic-related capacity restrictions will be lifted in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut after being forced to shut down more than a year ago.

As of May 19, capacity restrictions will be lifted in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for:

  • Restaurants;
  • Museums;
  • Theaters;
  • Broadway;
  • Retail;
  • Shops;
  • Gyms and fitness centers;
  • Amusement and family entertainment parks;
  • Hair salons;
  • Barbershops;
  • Offices.

Outdoor large stadium capacity will increase to 33 percent on May 19 as the three states continue to work on a joint protocol for stadiums moving forward.

Additionally, Cuomo made announcements regarding the foodservice industry:

  • Outdoor food and beverage curfews will be lifted on Monday, May 17;
  • Indoor food and beverage curfews will be lifted on Monday, May 31;
  • Indoor catered gathering limit increases to 250 (or 500 with testing or proof of vaccinations) on May 19;
  • Residential gathering limits increases to 50 on May 19.

“Reopening is not a light switch. We’ve said from the beginning it’s not a fully closed or fully open light switch, it’s a smart, measured, phased reopening,” Cuomo said. “I follow the science … I follow the data. I believe in the trajectory we’re seeing and I believe we’re going to get more people vaccinated and keep this going.


“We’re reopening, and we are reopening with the capacity, and safely, and with guidelines, but we are on the other side of the curve,” he added. “Reopening is a balance of COVID management, and safely, and watching the rate of infection and the variants of interest.”

Cuomo also announced that the MTA will restore 24-hour service in downstate New York on May 17, though the state will continue following the CDC’s social distance requirement of staying at least six feet apart.

“There’s a lot of danger (in reopening), but there’s a lot of damage when you don’t reopen, so it has been a balance and New York got hit harder than anyone else, so we did take precautions,” he said. “Now we’re reopening, and that’s what you’re seeing today.” 

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